How do professional gamers make money?

November 5, 2021

The top game streaming platforms of 2021 from left to right, Facebook Gaming, YouTube Gaming, and Twitch. Source: Tech News

If we’re being real, you really can make money doing pretty much ANYTHING these days. But one method that a lot of the younger generation and to some extent people my age (31) have used to make money, either as a full-time career or just a job on the side, is through playing video games. We’re going to get into the meat and potatoes of it soon, but how DO you make money playing video games? There are a few ways. Content creation/streaming, sponsorships or if you’re in that top 1%, you can make money by competing. Many kids from my generation would’ve lost their minds if they realized they could’ve made money playing games, but the generation my kid was born into has the world at their fingertips and it’s very easy to get started, whether you’re good enough or entertaining enough is the real question. So if we’re all ready, it’s time to get into it.

You saw the list above and we’re going to break it down piece by piece, starting with content creation and streaming. I don’t know whether it’s just my generation and younger, but consuming content from sites like Twitch and YouTube is a huge thing now. Some content creators are lucky enough to make playing video games their job. Recently there was a massive database leak with Twitch, including the earnings of the top creators. People like xQc reportedly made $8.5million, Summit1g earned $5.8million, and Lirik made $2.9million. Insane numbers right? But that’s just from streaming, these big names also make content on YouTube, TikTok, and other sources like sponsorships. So who knows how much money they REALLY make?

I’ve been into streaming lately and have been lucky enough to make some money from it, but not anywhere close to what these folks are making! However, what it does show is how easy it is to get into. As long as you’re relatively good at the games you play, don’t focus on playing HEAVILY popular games like Fortnite or Warzone you’ll have a good chance of getting noticed AND if your stream quality is decent at best with you being entertaining and engaging, you too could become a Twitch affiliate and start making a little bit of side money playing some video games! Do you have any idea how awesome it is to say you make money playing games? The dream.

One of the other ways I mentioned that you can make money through playing video games is to actually be a ‘professional’ gamer, competing on the big stage in huge tournaments. While this isn’t a way that ANYBODY can be a professional gamer, if you’re good enough you’ll have a chance. Most semi-competitive games have an eSports scene these days, including mobile games like Clash Royale. If you’re in that top percentile and you get to compete there are some CRAZY prize pools to play for depending on the game you’re good at.

For example, you guys have heard of DotA 2 right? DotA is a multiplayer online battle arena, similar to League of Legends or Smite if you’ve heard of those. Regardless, even if you’ve never played DotA2 but you spend ANY amount of time on the internet gaming, you might’ve heard about the CRAZY money up for grabs at DotA2’s world championships, known as the International. The very first iteration of the International, back in 2011, had $1.6million up for grabs, which let’s face it, for playing a video game that’s a LOT of money. HOWEVER, since then the prize pools have grown massively. The most recent iteration of the International had $40million up for grabs, FORTY MILLION, want to hazard a guess at how much the winner took home? Not even close, $18.2million. To split between 5 gamers, 1 coach, and their organization. Hey son? Have you ever heard of DotA? Well, you have now!

Team Spirit (Yatoro, Torontotokyo, Collapse, Mira, Miposhka & Coach Silent) were the winners of the 2021 International taking home $18.2million Source: Venture Beat

Even if you aren’t “good” enough you can still try to make some money off professional gamers, a lot of the top sportsbooks offer markets on eSports now, the biggest ones I’ve seen have markets are CS:GO, FIFA, the ePremier League specifically had a lot of betting lines, and I’ve even seen some sites offer lines for Rocket League in more recent weeks. Pretty awesome if you ask me as it gives everybody a chance to get involved, if you’re into it that is, who doesn’t like adding a little more excitement to some already exciting eSports?

That’s gonna do it for this time, are you lucky enough to be considered a professional gamer? In my opinion, a professional gamer is just somebody who makes money through playing video games, you don’t necessarily need to be the best of the best competing for prize money, but using gaming as a form of entertainment and earning a wage? Yeah, that’s professional if you ask me! If you aren’t, is it something you would consider doing? What about if your kids got into it, would you be happy or do you firmly believe in having a “real job”? Let us know! Until next time, take care!


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