Once upon a time, in magical kingdoms known as arcades, people gathered with pockets full of quarters to show off their reflexes and skills in pixel-based arenas. For those with abundant skills, there was money to be made. Some was just side bets with observers. Some came from tournaments. None of it was enough to make a living.
My, how times have changed.
For decades arcades competed against home consoles, but they held the edge because their dedicated gaming machines had more computing power and better graphics than their at-home counterparts. But arcades started losing ground in the mid-2000s as home consoles offered increasingly better graphics and gameplay without having to pump quarter after quarter into someone else’s machine. Nowadays, arcades mainly exist as part of a restaurant’s overall operation.
Back in them good ol’ days of gaming, there wasn’t a lot of money to be made in perfecting your skills on “Donkey Kong” or “Pac-Man,” but you could pick up a few bucks here and there with side bets and local tournaments.
Nowadays, a gamer can make millions of dollars.
Take, for instance, the Call of Duty League victory for Dallas Empire in late August. Dallas won 5-1 against Atlanta FaZe to claim a $1.5 million prize. It was the first league playoff championship in history, and the league is already gearing up for next season.
Even if a gamer doesn’t make “the big leagues,” many enjoy making a living by streaming their gameplay. “Who wants to watch someone else play a game?” you might ask. Well, lots of people.
This is nothing new. People would gather round an arcade cabinet to watch a local star player reach new levels and new high scores. They still do that, except now they do it from the comfort of their own home through YouTube or Twitch.
Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninja, has been a professional gamer for about 10 years. According to Sportscasting, he makes around $500,000 per month playing video games. His net worth is $20 million — mind you, he’s only won $270,000 from professional tournaments.
Now, everyday folks like us can’t expect to make that much, but livestreaming video game content can certainly earn a few extra bucks per month to sock away or pay off debt. I personally know several people who earn a few hundred bucks a month by streaming gameplay, and I know two who make a modest living doing it. They play the biggest titles of today — “Fortnite,” “Call of Duty Warzone,” “Rocket League,” to name a few.
Scoff if you will about video games, but it’s an industry flush with money — market analysts project global revenue this year to top $159 billion. That’s a number big enough to earn some respect.