Earning Money Through Games

Few days back I was talking to a friend who is exploring a viable side income. The games sector was one of the options I suggested to him, which he found particularly interesting. In the current economical climate where people are retrenched by the thousands and inflation is so out of control it makes every non-billionaire feel the pinch, more and more people are turning to sidelines to earn an extra income. Today we will discuss a very specific sector of side income – games.

games level

The Viability Of Live-Streaming

The first thing many would think of is live-streaming of oneself playing games. Unfortunately that is not a viable option. There is simply too much competition around due to its very low barriers to entry. Anyone with a webcam, a microphone and a streaming software could start live-streaming games. While there are some very successful streamers, the effort, creativity and skill one would need to put in makes it simply not worth it. Unless you plan to be a sexy girl gamer, the cost to reward ratio just does not work out. So I will not go too deep into this but strike this option out.

Selling Game Items And Services

In MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) the basic concept actually mirrors real life quite a lot despite generally being a fantasy or sci-fi setting. The player needs to grind to level up to unlock more skills, much like how we need to work and gain more experience. With the increased level, the player can then raid more difficult dungeons to get more money or materials, much like how with more skills we can take on more difficult jobs in exchange for better rewards. With the materials or accumulated money, the player can then forge better equipment and the cycle repeats. Much like how with better salary and more savings, we buy things like cars and houses, then plunge ourselves deep into the slavery system again.

Then in the same way, there is a demand and supply for in-game items and services. As long as you know the market well, you can buy and resell different in-game goods. From raw materials to completed equipment, everything which can be traded can be considered. A sword could be bought for a million in-game gold and resold for 1.5 million. Or spend $100 real-life cash to buy it from another player and resell it for $120. What you trade, how much you earn depends on how well you know the market and how best you can capture the available opportunities, much like in real-life.

Likewise, there are players who offer their skills. In an MMORPG, there are many different skills which a player can level up. From combat skills to life skills such as fishing or cooking, smithing or tailoring, every skill in the list takes time to level up and not everyone has the time or energy to max out every single skill or to even achieve a decent level. There are clans who pay players a fixed salary every month, and a player will have to clock a certain number of hours or activities with them in quests and clan wars or even training the newbies. This is much like a job, except that it is a job one may like to do. There are parties who hire freelancers to raid a dungeon with them on ad-hoc basis. There are players who hire a skilled craftsman to forge a piece of equipment for them.

In fact, there are even mercenaries for hire in games. It is not uncommon to see a temporary hire to fight in guild or clan wars as territories and money are at stake. As it is a game, there are no laws bounding the players except for the game’s internal rule mechanics. The number of jobs and things people can trade for are as creative as one can get.

While certain simpler tasks are paid in in-game gold, but in-game gold can also be sold for real-life currencies.

The Case Of Using Games For Side Income

There are quite a few reasons why we might want to use games to earn a real side income.

  1. You may like games and will be playing it either way during your free time. So why not enjoy and earn some coffee money at the same time?
  2. There is no physical logistical issues. Everything is done online, whether it is your in-game items or your in-game service.
  3. There is little room for disputes. Many actual platforms side with the customers at the expenses of merchants, but for games, one cannot say the goods he receive is defective.
  4. As society becomes economically worse off, people tend to stay at home more. Games are a very cheap form of entertainment, and adults are willing to spend just a little to make themselves happy.
  5. As society progresses and people accumulated their wealth, their more pampered children are more willing to splurge on games. I have a friend whose main target customers are well-off teenagers who spend their parents’ money without hesitation.

The Constraints

Many games however have an explicit rule banning trading in-game items for real money. As this blog does not encourage anyone to flout the rules, so just be sure what you are doing can be allowed. For example, my friend’s Runescape account was banned after he was caught trying to sell some party hats for real cash.


Just like any other sideline, money does not come easy. There is no get rich quick formula. Games do offer certain logistical advantages and you may actually be having fun while working, but to earn decent profits, one will still need to put in the time, effort and brains. Consider games if you love playing it.

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