Any kid who spent time playing video games growing up has dreamed of a gaming career to pay the bills. Usually, that idea goes out the window as you get older, but suddenly there are more ways than ever to carve out a career in video games.
What once may have seemed like a waste of time can be turned into a unique way to make a living today. Some eSports athletes, streamers, and cosplayers make six- or seven-figure salaries, but of course not everyone who builds a career in gaming is that profitable. Branching out into a developing field is a risk under any circumstance, but there are some ways to improve your odds of making it in gaming.
If you’re serious about gaming but not sure how to make it anything more than a hobby, here are some steps you can take to build out your new career path.
Choosing Your Path
Playing competitively and streaming on Twitch are two of the most prominent paths to a career in gaming, but they’re not the only ones.
The market for streamers is constantly expanding as more people are getting into watching gaming, and the tournament scene has expanded exponentially over the last decade. On the other hand, cosplaying has also gained popularity, and some of the most successful cosplayers make upwards of $100,000 annually.
However you choose to build your career, make sure you’re passionate about what you’re doing. All of these paths require hard work and dedication, and if you’re not fully invested you’ll have a hard time finding success.
Esports Careers That Don’t Involve Competing
The primary way to make money in esports is as an athlete. Most people don’t have those kinds of skills though, but luckily there are other avenues to profit off esports.
- Coaching: Coaches are critical to esports teams, even though they don’t actually play the game themselves competitively. Nearly every esports club has a strategy coach, someone who analyzes gameplay and helps his team develop methods of winning matches. Many teams and athletes also employ life coaches, people who serve as more of personal managers than strategy advisors.
- Broadcasting: Just like other sports, esports events usually feature broadcasters that help narrate the action for viewers. MOBA games like League of Legends and Dota 2 can be hectic, so there’s a lot of demand for people who can communicate what’s happening on screen. Some college esports programs even offer courses in esports broadcasting now.
- Gambling: Any form of gambling is inherently risky, and while esports gambling isn’t an ideal career it’s certainly become a prominent way for people to earn money. If you’re fully invested in professional gaming, you probably have an edge over casual gamblers and can find favorable wagers to earn some cash.
Streaming for a Living
The streaming industry is congested, but if you can find a way to stand out, you can earn a decent salary. Twitch, the most popular streaming service out there, is constantly adding new ways for creators to earn money on the platform.
Some streamers bring in more than a million dollars per year through Twitch, but that’s the top fraction of a percent of Twitch users. More realistically, Twitch streaming can help you earn a supplementary income until you’re confident enough to dive into gaming full time. Most streamers spend months or years building up their channel before they fully commit to making a living off streams.
The Basics of Cosplay
Cosplaying is still a niche part of the gaming community, but it’s growing in popularity. Simply put, cosplay (costume play) involves dressing up as video game characters. It’s generally still considered to be a hobby, but it’s becoming more possible to make money off it.
Most cosplayers design their own costumes, which opens up one of the primary ways to profit – selling custom apparel or creating video guides on how to make your own. Well-known cosplayers like Jessica Nigri will often get paid to appear at events like Comic-Con as well, and occasionally companies will sponsor cosplayers to help promote an upcoming game release.
Since cosplay is still so niche, talented and dedicated cosplayers have plenty of opportunities to make a name for themselves and break into the industry.