That means there is a lot of moneyto be made from games. They are very lucrative for gaming sitesand those studios able to produce hit titles, but what is less well recognised is that those who play games can also earn a good living from them.
Gaming is still widely perceived as a hobby, but the emergence of new media channels has made it possible to make moneyby playing games. So is it time to start thinking of it as a real, professional careerchoice?
It has always been possible to build a career out of an interest in games through the development side. The demand for new games is incredibly high and companies are always looking for people with the talents needed to create them.
Games development is a very highly skilled profession though, which is reflected in the sums that developers earn. What about those who love playing the games, but do not have the design, testing or coding skills needed to be a developer?
Essentially there are two areas that people like that can break into if they want to make money from their gaming:
- Live video streaming
This is probably the gaming career path that most people think of first. It involves setting up an account with a live streaming service such as Twitch or YouTube and producing videos of your game-play.
Money is earned in a variety of ways. Gaming streamers usually have paid subscribers to their channels and are able to monetise contentthrough adverts.
They also seek out sponsors, affiliate sales and Play-to-Earn games. This may sound ideal to dedicated games fans, but it must be borne in mind that streamers have to build up a substantial audience before they can start to make serious money.
That requires the production of regular content. Most professional streamers provide content for 60-plus hours per week.
To build an audience, a streamer also needs to have a strong, engaging personality that attracts viewers. It is hard work, just like earning a living in any other way.
Most of the successful games streamers on YouTube or Twitch are earning anything from $3000 to $6500 a month, although less popular ones often do not clear $100 a month.
A second professional gamingpath is through e-sports. This is live streaming in a competition environment where players face off against each other in tournaments.
It is an area of major growth, with e-sports viewing hours rising rapidly at the moment. During the opening part of last year, people are estimated to have spent 6,129 hours watching e-sports streams on just one of the platforms that host them.
One thing that e-sports have in common with more traditional sporting careers is that they are best suited to younger people. The majority of professionals begin aged 16 and stop when they hit their mid-20s.
A successful career in e-sports requires sponsorship money as well as the ability to win tournaments. Therefore a high level of gaming skill is a must.
It can be extremely lucrative for those that make the grade though. The current net worth of the top e-sports players is estimated to be in the region of $17 million.
The most important benefit is the chance to earn a living doing something you are passionate about.
If you have the extrovert personality and gaming skills needed to stand out as an e-sports player or streamer, you can make very good money.
The games industry is booming so there will be lots of opportunities for making money in the future for those who go professional.
Given the fact that the numbers playing video games are rising all the time, it seems certain that the number of people who seek a career in gamingwill also increase. That means there will be more people trying to enter the world of e-sports as well as becoming professional streamers on sites such as Twitch.
Another probable development is the mainstreaming of crypto-gaming options like Play-to-Earn (P2E) games. These are already used by some professionals to supplement their incomes, but they will be embraced by others.
They work by allowing people to retain assets that they earn during a game – for example skins or weapons – and sell them for real cash at in-game marketplaces.
If you are a skilful gamer and prepared to work hard, gaming can be a legitimate career choice.