4 Types Of Gamers & How They Can Earn Money Playing

Find out how you can earn money while having fun with games

Shawn Kong
Oct 12 · 9 min read
hand holding smartphone showing pokemon screen
hand holding smartphone showing pokemon screen
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“$1,200,” I texted.

“$1,150,” the potential buyer replied.

“$1,150, but you come over to the McDonald’s at CWP mall,” I responded. (It was near where I stay.)

“Deal, see you there,” the potential buyer replied.

I made my way to the mall, feeling excited to receive $1,150. My steps were light but swift, making sure I got there early to carry out the transaction.

After reaching McDonald’s, I ordered a drink and sat down in a corner.

Shortly after, the potential buyer came, passed me the cash, and we carried out the transaction.

The mobile phone game account that I was playing for almost three years (without spending any money on) finally ended.

It was a bittersweet moment.

At this point, you must be thinking about whether you will be able to make as much as I did.

Well, it depends.

It depends on what type of gamer you are and whether you have the skills, passion, and affinity to make it work.

Being a gamer since I was young, I have played, competed, and followed gaming trends for more than a decade.

But as I grew older, I had to begin adulting. Playing games can’t pay bills, or so I thought.

I began exploring different ways to make money while playing games and in this article, I will share with you four types of gamers and how they can leverage their playing style(s) to make money.

Interested? Read on.

The video gaming industry has been booming, and revenue has been growing in new revenue models (e.g. Free-to-play model) allowing games to have a larger player base due to lower barriers of entry.

According to figures from Statista, the number of smartphone users worldwide has increased by 1 billion from 2.5 billion in 2016 to 3.5 billion in 2020.

With the increase of smartphone penetration around the world, more people are finding it easier to entertain themselves with these handheld games.

The ease of access allows games to gain a player base quickly, building communities that actively interact with one another, and this provides opportunities for gamers to make money.

The bigger the community, the more opportunities available.

You may have been part of one of these communities before, and you may be able to identify as one of these four types of gamers or a mix of a few.

1. Grinder

You like to go through different parts of the game and don’t mind spending hours killing monsters to gain enough experience and level to prepare for the next stage.

A grinder enjoys what other gamers call the mundane aspects of the game. It usually entails endless repetitive actions, quests, and processes that are less exciting compared to player-killing or world events.

Grinders can make money by literally grinding. In a bigger community of players, there is a higher chance of finding players that would rather spend money than their time to grind through the less exciting parts of the game.

These people tend to hire other players to do the grinding for them.

An example of a grinder is when a 70-year-old Taiwanese grandpa went around with a 21-handphone setup on his bicycle, playing multiple Pokemon GO accounts.

shiny pokemon cards
shiny pokemon cards
Author’s collection of Shiny Pokemon in Pokemon Go — Source: Author

I have had people in my community offer to do a Pokemon raid (with a successful capture) for around 0.7 USD to 1.5 USD. They also sell shiny legendary Pokemon for around 0.37 to 0.7 USD each.

Playing more than one account makes it more lucrative for the grinder, multiplying the earnings with more accounts played at the same time.

I have played before a mobile app war game, Last Shelter Survival, where in-game resources(e.g. food, water, money) are significantly important in helping accounts grow and become stronger.

Each account generates a certain amount of resources over time, and by creating more than one account, one can use their main account to attack their other accounts.

These other/alternate accounts are also known as farms and it allows the player to plunder resources safely without losing too many in-game resources compared to attacking another player’s account.

These farms are in demand and can sell at around 12 USD to 15 USD per account for a level-15 base. It requires a daily investment of one or two hours for a week to reach a level-15 base.

screenshot of Last Shelter Survival game
screenshot of Last Shelter Survival game
A cluster of bases in the mobile game Last Shelter Survival (Source: Author)

The earnings per hour for this is around 1 USD. If you have another nine spare handphones lying around, you can do it simultaneously, allowing you to tenfold your earnings to 10 USD per hour.

I played this game for around four months, creating two main accounts and five farm accounts, and I sold all 7 accounts for a total of 400 USD. No money was spent while playing this game.

Look for games with strong demand in alternate accounts (e.g., war games and resource-oriented games).

2. Trader

While others are busy grinding levels to become strong, you spend most of your time in the market, trading equipment and rare items.

Browsing through the items available in the game’s market, you are able to tell if an item is severely underpriced, and you immediately make a purchase to resell it for a handsome cut in earnings.

A trader is one who is pretty good with numbers, can read the demand and supply, and is able to predict trends in the game community.

Currently, players for various Steam games can earn Steam wallet funds by selling in-game loot at their community market.

screenshot of online game Steam showing community market
screenshot of online game Steam showing community market
Community Market on Steam — Source: Author

Although players are not able to retrieve the money from the Steam wallet, they can do so via other methods, like selling games or selling game loot/commodities on third-party sites(exercise caution when dealing with strangers).

Some gamers have been successful in this field, making thousands of dollars a month in the game Diablo III until the real-money auction house closed down as that drastically reduced the number of active players.

This is due to players completing the game with high-end items bought with real money instead of earning them slowly through playing the game itself.

Find a game with an active trading community and start trading items that have strong demand.

A few years back, I sold my Summoners War (mobile game) account for 1,150 SGD and bought another account for 450 SGD. After playing it for two months, I sold it off for 700 SGD, netting me almost 2000 SGD in total, without spending any money on that game.

As I was pretty skilled at the game (played it for almost three years and ranked in the top 100 globally in real-time PvP) and was familiar with the trading market, I was able to pick out accounts with the potential to resell.

Instead of just buying and reselling, I added value to the account by playing the purchased account. By organising/managing the accounts with the knowledge I had personally gained, I was able to bring up the value of the accounts.

To put an analogy to it, it is similar to a business owner who acquires a business, improves its processes and performance, and ultimately selling it for additional profit.

Having strong knowledge in the game and actual playing experience will complement one’s ability to become a profitable game trader.

3. Skilled Gamer

As the name suggests, skilled gamers are players who play games well. No explanations are needed, so now on to the juicy stuff.

In many games, there is usually a ranking system. For many players, obtaining a high rank is desirable but sometimes unobtainable as it requires a lot of experience, skill, talent, and sometimes luck.

Just like how people in the real world spend tons of money on luxury products that flaunt their wealth, players in games can gain recognition by flaunting their ranks — commonly known as boosting.

Some websites offer a boosting service, where a skilled player plays on behalf of the account owner in an attempt to improve the win rate or score that account has.

Google description of a boosting service
Google description of a boosting service
Google search for boosting services (Source: Author)

In popular games such as Dota 2, Mobile Legend, and Playerunknown’s Battleground, there are plenty of websites around offering such services.

One can earn 5 USD for an increase in one rank on Playerunknown’s Battleground, and this varies from game to game.

If you love the challenge and find it rewarding (pun intended) to raise the rank of game accounts, this might just be your calling.

Search for popular games that have a large following and a ranking system, and get good at it.

Apart from boosting services, if you are an exceptionally skilled gamer or aspire to be one, you can set your sights on gaming competitions.

Popularly known as e-sports, these competitions are where exceptionally skilled players come together to battle in tournaments in a bid to win the tournament prize.

To get an idea of how much one can earn, among the most popular and lucrative games is Dota 2’s The International 2019, which raised a prize pool of over $30 million.

Due to its popularity, there would definitely be a fierce competition, and the skill level would be much higher.

So for a layperson like you and me, it would be better to join smaller tournaments (e.g., Red Bull M.E.O Season 2 — Clash Royale, 43k USD prize pool) or target less popular games (e.g. $210k USD Prize Pool — Summoners War) that have a following.

4. Creative Gamers

You often think about hilarious game moments, and you are able to illustrate a unique perspective on various game content.

You are a creative gamer that has an interesting personality, is able to communicate decently well, and may or may not be able to edit videos.

The last category of gamers is those that can get used to talking to a camera/screen and are able to bring to life game content or excite viewers.

They are your streamers and content creators.

Because of the growing demand for content creators, platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and now Facebook, are trying to cultivate these groups of gamers with their streaming features and ads.

Facebook’s description of its level up service
Facebook’s description of its level up service
Facebook’s Level Up Program (Source: Author)

The top streamer for Fortnite earned $17 Million in 2019 despite not being skilled enough to qualify for the first-ever Fortnite World Cup.

According to a Twitch streamer interviewed by gamesmeta.com in 2020, her male streamer friend has around 300 followers and 20 viewers on average, and he earns around $1.5k to $2k per month in total revenue.

If going live in front of countless people makes you uncomfortable, there is always the option of recording videos and posting them on a video content platform instead.

At the higher end, top YouTube gaming content creator PewDiePie made $15.5 million in 2018.

Just by looking at ad revenue alone, a YouTuber can expect to earn around $3 to $5 USD per 1,000 views on their video.

To earn $2,430 USD a month from ads alone, one would require around 27,000 views a day or 810,000 views per month.

Though the upside to this is really lucrative, in reality, it would take years to reach the amount popular YouTubers are earning now, so don’t expect to be earning thousands in your first few months.

One has to be prepared to take the long arduous road of experimentation and persevere long enough to be able to obtain decent earnings from this line.

To begin your journey of earning money from playing games, start identifying yourself as one of the four types(a mix of a few is possible too).

Deep-dive each category and really reflect to see which type’s (i.e., Grinder, Trader, Skilled Gamer, Creative Gamer) activities you prefer doing more or wouldn’t mind doing.

After this, try the suggested methods of earning for the respective types.

As the saying goes, enjoy your work and you will never work another day.

Even if you don’t manage to make a lot of money, at least you are having fun.

Good luck and may you be successful!

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Shawn Kong

Written by

Data-driven growth marketer — shares insights from marketing, business & life adventures, follow me for more! Connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawn-kong/

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

Shawn Kong

Written by

Data-driven growth marketer — shares insights from marketing, business & life adventures, follow me for more! Connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shawn-kong/

Better Marketing

Marketing advice and case studies to help you market ethically, authentically, and effectively.

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