The thought of playing video games for a living was historically confined to the realms of fantasy. Any mention of the idea was met with ridicule and an emphasis on the need to grow up. Those sages that offered that life advice may be eating their words now, as today some of the most profitable ways to earn money include playing video games.
This is largely due to the industries presence in society, and how much the hobby has grown. To put it into perspective, there are around 2.5 billion active gamers in the world, meaning that there is a natural demand for entertainment that involves games. In order to meet this, many different ways of producing video game content have arisen, all with valid ways into breaking into the sector.
Arguably one of the most influential websites of the modern age, YouTube has been the dominant video sharing site for over a decade now. Many gamers would upload their favourite moments to sites over the web before YouTube came out, but these were hardly ever seen as they were not nearly popular enough in the public. When YouTube entered, it changed everything and suddenly, there was a real way for gamers to get their content seen and appreciated.
Eventually, this process became lucrative as YouTube began its partner programme and paid channels for their content. In this way, the idea of playing video games for money was born. Although it can prove hard to get established, especially today, once popular, YouTubers can earn staggering amounts of money through the size of their audience and multiple sponsorship deals.
Twitch can be thought of as a child of YouTube and was developed as an alternative after seeing the rampant success the website has had. Twitch differentiates itself from the platform by emphasizing gaming and streaming, and those who want to provide content for an audience can do so by playing games in front of a live audience. They can interact with the streamer via a live chat, which is one advantage the platform holds over traditional content creation. In recent years, Twitch has also been incredibly popular, to the point where it was bought out by titans Amazon.
The streaming platform is highly popular with gamers but is also spreading to other industries who understand why its interactive nature is desirable. In the gambling industry, for example, it is easy to find online gambling streamers that will deal for you, mimicking the experience of an online casino. This shows how innovative the platform is and is telling of why some gamers prefer it to uploading videos.
Then there is, of course, the professional route into playing games for money. This can prove exceedingly lucrative as some of the prize pools for competitive tournaments promise astronomical sums of money, but it can also be considered the hardest. Only the best of the best can make competitive gaming a profitable venture and it requires skill, natural talent, and the most valuable thing of all: time. This would be suited to those who are passionate about gaming, but for those more casual players, content creation or streaming would be a better choice.
Having a career in gaming is now a very real prospect, but it requires either skill and hard work, or time to carefully cultivate an audience. The notion that these roles are possible at all though is an achievement of the industry, and a sign that gaming shows no signs of declining.