I grew up on video games. I went through many stages of life thinking about what I wanted to do when I grew up, and that also included the elusive Astronaut job (which I quickly turned down after I found out that they drink their own pee (figuratively)). There was one thing that was constant though: I always wanted to make my job around video games. Well, my thought progress about jobs had always revolved around getting cool experiences.
Cool Experiences = something to talk about or to share
I went through thinking I could become an artist, a graphics designer, a programmer, a developer, a software engineer, a journalist… Lots of jobs to go through. My parents scoffed at the prospect of gaming as a career. But with the advent of the internet, I can now make video games an actual career.
Not sure what I mean? Let’s start by pressing A to the next topic.
Wages, income, revenue streams are all words describing how someone can earn money. It can be simply be divided into two categories: passive and active.
Active income is the constant effort made to create something to bring you money. A very good example is our 9-5 job. You are constantly working in exchange for cash. You earn either a wage, or a salary depending on the work you do. This can be on a contract-by-contract basis, where you earn money for a task you complete. Or you can come in every day, work X amount of hours and you get paid by the hour. Both of these will outline how much you earn on your contract to your job.
Passive income requires an initial time or money investment. While it is popular, understand the fact that nothing can come to you for free, you need either one or the other or even both before you it can bring you consistent revenue. There’s even revenue streams that can even earn you money while you sleep! But again, you need blood, sweat and tears before you see something in return.
Before we start though, I must warn you that this requires a lot of hard work and investment. If this doesn’t turn well for you, you must always have a plan B. Don’t simply quit your job today just because you said you want to be a full-time YouTuber. If you are going to quit your job to fully commit to it, I highly suggest you have at least enough money in your bank to live off for a year or two.
Now let’s see how we can turn our favorite hobby into a side-hustle! (And eventually, our work!)
These streams require constant work. There are several ways of doing this.
Now I know these are all different methods, but no matter your discipline you follow, it is important to see that your favorite hobby actually helps you build your skills! I’m not talking just about improving your craft (writing skills, certain drawing techniques, new tech to make your jobs easier, etc.), you must be inspired and be up to date with the latest trends! A game can be inspiring by how the music sets the tone for a particular scene, or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker’s cel-shading style has inspired a number of games with similar style. Chris Rockwood, from Hi-Rez Studios, states how important it is to keep up to date to a game’s development stage to see where you can contribute. Instead of playing mindlessly on your game, sit down and admire all the details, it can inspire you! Also, network with your fellow creators, they can get you a foot into the industry. But until then, you have to settle doing freelance jobs, networking on social media and getting your name out there before landing a job with your passion.
Streaming, believe it or not, is a full-time job. If you want to earn money playing games live to a watching audience, you have to dedicate the time to do so. Surprisingly enough, those subscription numbers on Twitch by themselves are not enough to keep a streamer fed and happy. They also network a lot to garner those views and to get sponsorship from companies who love video games as much as you do who want some screen time with you. The good news is, it is pretty easy to get into streaming; you need a computer to output to your stream, internet and a game to play. Unfortunately, because of that, streaming is very saturated. You need to do something else to stand out or you won’t see a following.
Video Game Development
There are stages in the development of a video game, but most of the time it requires a lot of people to develop a game of all disciplines. Programmers and designers are needed to take a concept to reality. Marketers are needed to advertise and sell the game. These are all 9-5 jobs here and there are many positions in a company you can fill. It is highly recommended that you play games for not just product quality, but to keep up with the latest trends and to understand how your consumers react as well as testing the grounds for new niches for your game. Think of if this way; you are creating something for your customers to take. It’s just that this time you decided to follow your dream instead of deciding to be stuck in a rut.
Or, if you’re not so keen in being in a large game studio (more on that later), you can verge off on your own and become an independent developer. You are creating all aspects of the game. Story, setting, levels, interaction, music, and even art are all parts of your creation! This will take a ton of time, money and elbow grease to see your creation come to fruition. Then right after that, you also have to work to get your game out there for someone to see your game and even play it. Fortunately there are a lot of avenues for this, which includes the Google Play Store and iTunes Store for mobile developers and more famously, Steam for PC developers.
Video Game Tester
I didn’t know about this before, but there are development teams looking for testers all the time. They want you to play certain sequences over and over and in different ways so that they can see that their games work. Having a background in programming helps, but it isn’t really necessary. You are hired to play games and provide feedback for developers to follow up on so that they can deliver the best product possible.
Video Game Journalism
As a journalist, you cover the latest in video gaming. You also put out reviews for parts, accessories, and even games themselves. There’s also news coverage on aspects of the gaming communities, opinionated editorials and even news on development of games. One has to start networking in order to get the foot in the door. You also have to build up your portfolio as a writer, which includes freelance writing to other outlets.
Do you want to compete with the best of the best a game has to offer? Better get really good. Professional gaming is on the rise with people tuning into world tournaments and leagues like League of Legends World Championships and Evolution Championship series (Or EVO, which is the world’s largest fighting game tournament). These people are the best of the best and they are often looking for the next fight. Of course, they are also sponsored by companies that come to these events too. Expect a lifestyle similar to that of a professional athlete; spend many hours getting good at a game.
These are targeted towards creating valuable content such that lasts over a long time people will still come to view it. If people come to view it, there is potential in creating revenue. This requires a lot of time and money initially before you see any return from it.
Blogging can be about anything! Even on the topics we have mentioned earlier. It is frankly easy to get in but hard to keep consistent. To start you need a hosting service (which does cost money if you want a better chance of being found and more control over your website) and dedication. It takes a while to get going, but creating content that others can read and find value will net you a business. This can then work on affiliate marketing to promote goods that you like to others and get a commission on it, or put advertisements about stuff that you like to have people click and you get paid for it.
Just like blogging, you can create videos on YouTube about anything! It can be a boon because a lot of people are visual learners. They like to see things and they click when they are interested. Just like blogging, you can sell through affiliate marketing or paid advertisements (Thanks to YouTube’s monetization method). However, be wary that you also need to be consistent in your uploads as well. Google’s algorithms want to keep checking that you are relevant and fresh and thus you need to consistently put up content for the search bots to keep finding you.
People are consistently looking for guides for about anything. This includes getting good at your particular game. This can turn this into an eBook or a series of blog posts. Amazon provides an easy outlet to publish your eBook if you’re looking to get started. Either way, this can lead into a venture where you can actively help others by coaching.
The Mindset of Success
As I have mentioned before, it is important to have the right mindset. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and even an initial investment in both time and money before you can reach a point you can be happy. It is the process of getting good that is the most rewarding. The journey is the most rewarding part, but hey the perks at the end isn’t so bad either!
It is most important that you have a plan before you try. Knowledge is power and it is key to success. It is also important to have something to fall back on when things get out of hand. Plan to be consistent; reaching success is a marathon, not a race. And finally my best advice to you is to get started; nothing won’t change unless you do something about it.
Have You Considered Gaming to be a Career?
What do you guys think? Do you think it’s still worth scoffing about? Share your comments below!