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Making Money Playing Video Games…The Entrepreneurial Way
There are no secret that creative and intelligent people have and always will find ‘unconventional’ ways to make money. Since video games became a platform that invited people to spend unspeakable amounts of time and money, others outside game creators have devised ways to generate real-world money. While doing so is illegal, game creators often find a way to limit or eliminate those avenues.
Let’s take a high-level look at some ways people have and do make real-world money from some of today’s and yesteryears’ most popular games.
As games have become increasingly part of popular culture, diehards have found creative ways to ‘justify’ their pastimes. Let’s be clear, many of these methods used to make the real world are ‘frowned upon’ but not illegal. Many games like World of Warcraft have a ‘Terms of Service (TOS) agreement prohibiting account and item selling with real-world money. While these agreements aren’t typically rigorously enforced, there is the chance that participating in buying or selling these accounts could lead to said account being banned, amongst other possible punishments.
Many games require hundreds of hours to get a character to a level or power to enjoy certain content. As a result, many casual fans have created a demand for other people to ‘do the work for them, also called ‘power leveling”. Why grind when you can just find someone willing to sell it to you for a ‘reasonable’ price? Well, that is where the word ‘reasonable’ can become quite relative.
MMOs are built to require you to log in daily and grind for hours to get a particular cosmetic, ranking, or item. Believe it or not, games like Fortnite, Final Fantasy XIV, Runescape, Destiny 2, League Of Legends, Overwatch, and the classic World Of Warcraft. In each of these games, there are modes and/or features in the game that cannot be experienced until a certain level or ranking is attained. As a result, some players (maybe some who want multiple accounts without spending all that time) invest in power-leveling services to take that shortcut.
A tale as old as time, gold farming is one of the oldest services in the book. Gamers have always dreaded the grind to acquire enough gold to start that faction, forge that item, or do whatever within a game. Instead, players have turned playing games like Diablo 3, Black Desert, Elder Scrolls Online, and tons of other games into a side hustle for real money. Some online sites have players buying and selling virtual currency for real-world money on several games. Eve Online, Path of Exile, Runescape, and World of Warcraft are common games where this happens.
You will even find some survival games like ARK: Survival Evolved has a small community of players that will farm resources and such in-game for a small fee.
Playing a game for hours to turn around and sell the account to another player is the most common way to make real-world money (and violate a game’s Terms of Service agreement). In today’s most popular games like Fortnite, Overwatch, Rocket League, and any game that has skins and rankings, you will find someone online that is willing to buy or sell an entire account.
There are often rare or limited skins that can be earned or purchased for a limited time. Other times players will simply want a character of a certain experience level. For example, some sports games have create-a-player (or team) modes that use real-world and in-game money to boost the character’s stats. Games like FIFA and NBA 2K21 will often see activity like this. People will then boost accounts like these to certain levels or rankings and sell them to another player looking to get that ‘elite player’ feel.
BUILDING AND MODDING
Another longstanding method of making money, if you have the skill, is to make game mods or to build structures or custom characters. Games like Sims 4, Minecraft, Roblox, and Grand Theft Auto Online all have vivid communities that support people building and creating things in-game and as a mod.
Minecraft, in particular, has seen some of the most amazing creations made in-game. Whether it is a computer made out of Minecraft blocks or a functional recreation of the Death Star, it seems that if the game is still popular, someone will be willing to pay to make it!
COACHING AND BOOSTING
Are you exceptionally skilled in a particular competitive game? If so, it is also pretty standard for players to request a way to become better, either actively or passively.
The active method is for them to request you to teach or coach them to become better players. Games like Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, Counter-Strike: GO, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, and many others will often offer coaching services. These services are basically applied to ANY game with an eSports league. Fighting games and sports games are definitely in this bracket.
The passive method is for them to request you to simply take control of their account and play the game for them on their behalf. This allows them to improve their wins and/or kill/death ratio to brag to their friends. Shady? Yes. Uncommon? No.
However, you slice it, there will always be a ‘black market’ for shady ways to make real-world money playing video games. While some of these methods are frowned upon, not all of them are. For example, coaching and “modding” are legit ways to make some money on the side from the game you know and love so much. As time goes on and games continue to evolve, hardcore fans will, without a doubt, continue to find more ways to make real-world money playing video games.