Gaming has become one of the biggest industries in the market. In 2017, Americans spent 36 billion dollars on video games alone! So, how can you use your skills as a gamer to break into this lucrative industry? These 5 steps will help you break into the video game industry, and start earning money as a game developer!
1. Start Freelancing
The first way you can bring in income as a game developer is by freelancing. This way, you can get hired by clients to develop games for them. The great thing about being a freelancer is that you can be your own boss! To jump-start on your freelance career, open an account on a freelance site like Fiverr. On Fiverr, you can create gig packages and set your own prices for your services!
Once you have finished setting up your account on Fiverr, utilize the live portfolio feature. This feature allows clients to see past projects you have worked on through Fiverr. Your portfolio should also include games that you have created. Remember, your portfolio is your opportunity to prove your skills to clients. Also, fill out your profile with detailed information on your past game development experience and education. From there, you can create gig packages and set your own prices!
Something else you can try is reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn. Write them a personalized message, including a link to your Fiverr portfolio, letting them know you are looking for freelance work. Recruiters are always looking for new talent for their clients, so reaching out to them could get you hired. Additionally, recruiters will directly place you on assignments that are the best fit for your experience.
The key to being a successful freelancer is to constantly generate new clients, so network like crazy. Attend networking events, connect with people on LinkedIn, give out your business cards, and be active on game engine forums to meet future clients.
2. Sell Your Games
If you have finished creating a video game, then sell it! There are many gaming sites you can use to publish and sell your games. First, make sure your game is finished and ready to sell. Then use a site such as Steam or Itch.io to upload your game.
Steam is one of the biggest online stores for video games. With Steam’s direct feature option anyone can upload and sell their game on this platform. First, you will need to create an account on Steam, and sign-up for Steamworks (the back end system for developers). This will allow you to upload and manage your game.
Unlike Steam which requires an upload fee, Itch.io. is a free-to-publish site where you can sell your game. Another perk to Itch.io. is you can adjust the site’s commission from your game.
Or if you want to go super indie, you can sell your game on your own website.
Once your game is live and ready for purchase, start promoting it on all of your social media channels. Like with any product, getting your game in front of the right consumer is the hardest part. You can easily set up ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Google for an affordable rate. These ads help you to reach customers, who would otherwise not know about your game, in a saturated market.
3. Create a Free-to-Play Game
Free-to-Play games have revolutionized the market for mobile gaming. These games are free to download and play but have optional privileges the player can pay for. For example, Pokemon-Go was a free game that generated 14 million dollars, its first week, from in-game purchases. Free-to-Play games are more accessible. Thus, creating a huge opportunity for players to make in-game purchases.
A trick to optimizing your earning potential is to develop a dissociated currency, in the game. A lot of games will use a model like one dollar equals 5 green gems. Create inconvenient situations or obstacles in your game, and offer a paid incentive to bypass this frustrating obstacle. This will prompt the players to buy more. Afterward, you can offer your game on the Apple or Android App store for direct download.
4. Test Video Games
Another avenue to make money as a game developer is to work as a Game Tester or quality control inspector. Game Testers are hired to play video games and report any bugs, errors, or glitches within the game. Normally, this requires playing the same part of a game repeatedly, creating reports on the errors, and communicating this back to staff developers. Most gaming companies look to hire gamers with at least 2 years of video game playing or programming experience. Since the job is very technical, having a background in game development and programming is extremely helpful for getting hired.
You can apply for openings on game company sites, and reach out to recruiters for potential testing contracts. You can build your experience by participating in open beta testing. Software companies will routinely release beta video games, for the public to test and provide feedback.
5. Be a Resource
Being a game developer requires a wide range of training and specialized skills. With your knowledge, you could create an online course, source code, or tool to help gamers. For a free, of course.
If you have any unused source code from one of your games, you could sell it on Dovemobi.com. You could also create source code or tools for other Engines, and sell them on Dovemobi.com.
You could also create an online course on Udemy, Lynda.com, SkillShare or on your website. Start by making a digestible curriculum, syllabus, and script for the course. Film yourself teaching, or hire a freelance videographer, to bring your course to life. Then, set up an account with a learning platform service and publish your course!
Whether you are a passionate player or a skilled developer, there are many ways you can start generating income as a gamer. Remember, you can monetize all of your skills and talents. Don’t be afraid to try something outside of your comfort zone and money some cash.