Hello again Sea Changers and welcome back to the site where we discuss all things online business so that you too can fund that all important sea change. Today I am going to discuss the key aspects around how to make money with video games. Yep, video games… no longer the domain of dirty smelly teenagers hiding in their parent’s basement (well there are probably some there) but a potential online goldmine that is becoming more and more mainstream reaching into almost every part of society. I mean I was at a pub the other night and watched 4 businessmen in their 40s giggle like school girls as they sank dollar after dollar into one of those old school tabletop Pacman machines.
Now, this is an extremely large and popular market with some very good money to be made if you can carve yourself out a good niche. So today I will check out a number of ways that you can make money from video games, some you may be aware of, some you have probably not even thought of. Either way, charge up that controller and let’s see what we can find out…
How do we get started?
So, generally at this point I would carry on about how we need to see if there is even an interest in this niche so that we are not wasting our time setting up a website etc. for something that there is no market for. I am however going to go out on a little limb here and say that I am pretty confident that we have a market. But just in case I have had my call of duty blinkers on let’s check the stats anyway…
What are people looking for?
To start let’s just confirm our market numbers:
1. Number of monthly searches
The first thing we need to do here is check (or confirm) if video gaming is actually worthwhile pursuing as a potential online business. And the best way to determine this is to see what online searches are being undertaken. You will need to find yourself a good keyword tool (I use Jaaxy) and enter in the keywords that best describe your market. In this case, let’s start with the basics:
As I suspected – with sub searches, there are over 200000 searches per month – that is really good. Let’s check a little further for a more specific search related to our needs:
There are also some good numbers here (there are a lot of variations further down not visible in the pic above) and it definitely shows that people are at least looking at online purchasing options as well – not just how to play them. Although, let’s just see where that puts us:
Again, a good number of searches and some good ideas for problem solving and niche selection. I admit however that I was probably playing with loaded dice here considering that the top gamers on YouTube are making tens of millions of dollars per year.
2. Growth trends
Another important aspect of online sales and niche selection is to check that interest is maintained or increasing over time. To gain an insight into this let’s check out how camping gear related searches are trending online.
So what does this tell us? Well let’s break it down:
- Interest in gaming has been well maintained over the past 12 months – It has not risen as much as I would have expected but the market is still there
- Interest is maintained all year round.
All in all, I see a really good opportunity here.
What is our niche?
Ok, now the fun part begins – we need to start looking at breaking down our market into a niche or sub niche. Gaming in general is a huge niche so you might choose to break it down a little and specialise. Regardless, based on some research (albeit not extensive), here are some ideas
- General gaming
- Specific gaming types – sports, first person shooter, fantasy, sand pit, traditional etc.
- Gaming consoles and accessories
- Online gaming
- Game testing or reviewing
There really is no limit to the amount of subject content here, however as you work through narrowing your targeted niche, consider the following:
- Are you able to solve a problem – Most people undertake searches on the internet to solve a problem – see next section.
- Is it a subject that you have an interest, or knowledge in– I am guessing that you are in this post as you know about, or have an interest in gaming. If you don’t have either of these, maybe consider another market as, to be honest, you might struggle to produce solid content if you don’t know much about it – or worse, have no interest in the world of gaming – and trust me, in this world they speak another language so they will know immediately if your information is not up to scratch.
Let’s investigate this a little further by discussing the problem solving elements of niche selection.
What problem are we solving?
Now, you may already know what it is that you are trying to sell. If not, then maybe start to look at it from the perspective of solving problems.
Think about your own search behaviours when you are online – I would hazard a guess that most searches you do are in order to solve a problem. These can be in a number of ways such as:
- You know that you want to purchase a new gaming console but don’t know which one is best
- You have a problem and need a solution – I.e. “I don;t know how to shoot a 3 pointer in NBA20”.
Your goal here is to determine just what problem/s you are trying to solve for your readers. This may be one problem that spans your site or differ for each post that you write. For example, if you have chosen general gaming for your niche, then problems might be:
- Equipment choice – they want to purchase a headset for online play but don’t know which equipment is best.
- Which to buy – they are tossing up between a PlayStation and an x-box – but which is best?
- Gaming techniques – they want to be able to reach a certain level in a game but just can’t get there.
In these cases, people would be searching for those topics based on having a problem and needing a solution. Your site would outline and review the best options for them.
Alternatively, if your site is about online gaming for example, then you would be addressing problems such as the fact that I want to play Call of Duty online but cannot get my console to connect to the internet. You could then discuss the minimum requirements to play games online such as:
- Console/PC requirements
- Required internet speeds
- Online membership requirements
- Skill level outlines
- Online Etiquite
- And so on
Note: You do not need to identify every possible problem that your readers may have straight away. In many cases, the more you write, the more ‘problems’ will present themselves so initially you really just want to make sure that there are some that may need solving as we have found here.
How are you going to convince them to buy?
The main thing to keep in mind here is that gaming fits squarely within the hobby niche meaning that people will spend money on it but will need to be confident that it is worth it. So at the end of the day, you need to find ways to convince people that you know what you are talking about and that they can safely purchase from you. Here are some ways that you can do that:
- Provide information without sales – That’s right – write your posts in a way that actually makes it easy for people to do their research without having to purchase from you. By doing this, you are solving problems and helping readers out. If they trust you, they will be more likely to return next time and buy from you then – especially if you follow up with posts on ways to gt the most our of their games, consoles or online memberships.
- Highlight advantages – Are you cheaper, does your vendor provide a good warranty, free shipping or a bonus discount? You will be surprised how many will suddenly not need to go elsewhere if they are saving money. Also, be clear to outline returns policies etc.
- Know your audience – A big mistake many make here is to not target the real needs of the buyer. This is especially important when dealing with the different types of gaming niches. Families who are looking for consoles for basic use will just want to know what will work best for them. Serious gamers on the other hand will want to know exact features and benefits and usually be interested in the latest and greatest technology to keep up with new game purchases. Make sure that you understand what it is that your target audience is after and what they like and don’t like. That way you can appeal directly to them and keep then interested in your site.
Tip: Still not sure? Have a look and see what others are doing. It might just help you with some ideas.
What do we need to do?
Ok, so now that we have an idea in regards to our niche and know some of the problems that we can investigate, we need to choose and setup the media that we intend to use to sell our product. This can include:
Build a Website
If your video game niche is to do with the selling of games and consoles etc, then you will probably need to look into a website. Websites allow you to solve problems via blog posts, videos and/or ‘how to’ demonstrations that people can view in order to identify the solutions that they need. Usually, this process is fairly straight forward in that you build your website, write posts (on the best console-TV combination for car racing games for example), then provide links so that they can view/purchase the relevant products online.
Promote on Social Media
Social media is a powerful platform that can allow you to get your message out there into the big wide online world with the ability to reach thousands. It also allows you to target specific segments if you choose the correct platform. When it comes to gaming, the usual platform of choice is YouTube so that games can be demonstrated and talked about in real time. We will discuss this in more detail soon.
Join like-minded groups
The beauty about hobby niches such as gaming is that regardless of the sub niche you have chosen, you can really get amongst your target audience quickly as there is usually some sort of social media group, online forum or membership page that you can join to gain exposure to potential visitors and sales. FaceBook for example is a great place to gain access to hobby and professional groups alike and can not only allow you to interact with customers but also gain more information and education in terms of content ideas for your posts or products.
Note: Many of these groups will not allow you to spruike or promote your sites directly, however if you can interact and demonstrate your knowledge then people will ask you privately for the information. At the very least, as above, it is a great way to get ideas and insight into what people in this area really want to know about and what they are buying online.
Don’t forget to think outside the box a little here too. Gamers often use PCs and will definitely need some good home HiFi equipment here as well so if you can discuss any accessories they may be after you can potentially open your site up to a whole new market.
How do we sell them?
The next step in our journey is to consider what products we are going to promote. Let’s have a look at some of the best avenues for selling within the video game niche:
If your niche is centred on the sale of games, consoles, accessories and merchandise, then you may want to look into an affiliate marketing arrangement. Affiliate marketing, in short, this means that you will write about video games by solving problems and then referring your readers to a link where they will purchase directly from the vendors. You then make your money via commissions from those vendors. Affiliate programs are setup directly by companies or marketplace platforms (Amazon, Ebay etc.) that allow you to join and then refer traffic to them via customised affiliate links.
To find affiliate programs in the gaming space, simply type “affiliate: niche” into your search engine (where niche is the specific area that you are working in). Below is an example for video game affiliate programs:
Note: search results tend to be geographically based to search results will differ depending on your location.
From here you can search through and find programs that:
- Relate to your niche/problems that you are solving.
- Have quality products – your brand can be severely damaged if you promote poor quality products or fake brands.
- Have solid payment and customer service arrangement.
- Pay decent commissions.
- Have good testimonials covering commission payouts and quality of product.
In most cases, you will need to apply for the program before you are allowed to promote their products – don’t take this step lightly or you will be rejected. Affiliate programs will generally want to know:
- Your website name.
- Traffic levels.
- Why you want to join – (so I can make money by selling your playstations is unfortunately not generally a good enough answer).
- How you plan to promote their products.
One thing to be aware of here I guess is to keep in mind the issues we discussed earlier in regards to selling video games online. You need to make sure that the programs you choose can be trusted and that the consumer is comfortable that they not only have recourse if something goes wrong, but are not putting their enjoyment of gaming, or the safety of their families at risk. For this reason you will need to make sure that your chosen programs are going to resonate with your readers and your niche.
That said, some marketplace programs such as Amazon and EBay can give you access to these types of products and as they are more trusted, then they may be worth a look for sure. Some Amazon examples are as below:
Should the whole website/online business caper not be something that inspires you – then never fear, there is money to be made simply by making yourself the product you are selling by playing them. This a booming market and one that has made some very funny and boisterous young lads a cult following and a truck load of cash by simply playing video games online, talking about them, providing hint and tips and generally just being teenage boys.
Now there are many that are trying this so you need to be very entertaining and knowledgeable. I actually looked at a few for this post and these guys really are a step above. However I did watch one guy with over 1 million followers who simply reviews the games and narrates with a boring mono-tone voice. I guess he is knowledgeable and good at the games as he nearly put me to sleep – but he still has 999,000 odd more YouTube subscribers than I do so what do I know? haha.
One of the biggest selling points in the gaming world is the constant release of the latest and greatest games – I mean people line up overnight for the latest Madden, NBA or Call of Duty games. And because of the scrutiny that these new games bring upon the developers, many will pay good money to get good gamers to test them out.
Now, just to burst your bubble a little here, testers are not paid to simply run through the game, rather to try and break them meaning you have to try every weapon, open every door, walk into every wall and so on. But if this an area that interests you, you will need to :
- Be details minded and patient
- Generally have some sort of university level training in computer science, gaming or programming
- Be prepared to spend hours and hours running around in games without actually plying them for fun.
But hey, there are worse jobs out there right?
If you are that good, then you may want to enter the world video game competition circuit (we have all seen Pixels right?). I saw recently a kid won over three million dollars for winning a Fortnite tournament in New York. Better get practicing…
And there it is – How to make money with video games. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, need some advice or have any experiences to share.
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Until next time
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