Here is everything you need to know on how to make money on Steam and monetize your gaming hobby!
Did you ever think you could make money by playing video games? You probably didn’t, right? Well, think again.
Gaming is a huge industry. In fact, the video gaming market in the US is estimated to be worth $65.4 billion in 2021. It is even projected to grow to $169.7 billion by the end of 2025.
That said, people spend a lot of money on gaming, and there are also ways you can make money online by just playing video games.
As you may know, I love exploring ways to make money online. It’s been my mission here to share legitimate money-making opportunities and help you make money while doing what you love. And today, I may have just found the perfect gaming platform for you where you can also monetize your passion for gaming.
Now, I understand that this gig is not for everyone. If you’re looking for other viable ways to make money, check out the following posts:
- 25 Stay-at-Home Mom Jobs that Pay Well
- 16 Low-Cost Stay-at-Home Business Ideas
- How to Start a Blog and Make Money ($10,000 per Month!)+
What is Steam?
Developed by a video game company called Valve, Steam is a service that distributes games. Some of its most remarkable games are Counter-Strike, Dota, PUBG: Battlegrounds, and Apex Legends. So, if you love to play computer games, you probably already know what these games are.
But right now, Steam is not just a game distribution service. It also has a very engaged community of gamers. People who play games on Steam are also able to communicate with one another. There are also Steam forums where members exchange thoughts and tips. Suffice to say, Steam is an ultimate gamer’s destination where members play, engage and learn from each other.
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How to Make Money with Steam: 8 Amazing Ways to Monetize Your Gaming Hobby
The fun part of using Steam is that you can play games. But if you are a gamer who is also looking to make money while spending hours before the computer, then you should learn how to make money by playing games on Steam.
1. Earn Free Steam Codes and Gift Cards
Every gamer has a Steam Wallet. The money inside this wallet is to buy games and make in-game purchases instead of using the gamer’s credit or debit card account. So, the more money you have in your Steam Wallet, the more things you can do in Steam.
As you can see, funding your gaming hobby on Steam cost money. But did you know that you can earn free Steam codes and gift cards, and use these to fund your Steam Wallet?
So instead of pulling money from your bank account, which is basically spending money on games, you can try to source those gift cards and codes elsewhere. Think of it as free money!
So, how to get money on Steam for free?
Swagbucks allows you to earn points by doing everyday things on the internet, such as watching videos, answering polls, and shopping online. You can redeem your points as Steam gift cards or codes. Alternatively, you can exchange your points into Amazon gift cards which you can use to purchase Steam codes.
Prize Rebel is a get-paid-to site where you can perform a wide array of activities, like answering surveys, and then get paid for them. It is known to provide Steam gift codes directly for certain surveys, so you’d want to watch out for them. You can earn points for other tasks such as online shopping, watching videos, and playing games, and then redeem those points as Steam codes.
You can do a lot of things on InboxDollars that allow you to earn cash or convert to Steam gift cards, such as answering surveys and reading emails.
Rakuten is a popular cashback company that rewards you for shopping in its partner stores. You will get rebates to your PayPal account and you can use that money to get Steam codes or gift cards.
Dosh is a cashback app that allows you seamlessly win some of the money you spent on shopping. All you have to do is connect your credit or debit card to the app, and shop as you normally would. You can redeem your cashback to your PayPal account or withdraw it to your bank account.
2. Sell Pre-Release Content
Steam initially started with just seven games, but over the years, Steam has released over 50,000 games. Imagine new games being released every day or week. That’s how massive Steam is!
But a lot of gamers have learned that they can make money on Steam by getting early access to games that are yet to be launched.
So, how to earn money on Steam with pre-release content?
When you pre-purchase those games, not only will you get first dibs on playing them, you’ll also gain access to items that would otherwise not be available once the game is officially released.
You don’t want to take those pre-release content for granted because they could make you money on Steam later on. What you have to do is hold onto those items in the meantime. The demand for those content will spike because they become hard to get by later. Passionate gamers are willing to spend whatever it takes to get their hands on those precious items.
Take a look at the Steam Community Market to find items that are selling at neat prices, some of them commanding hundreds of dollars.
3. Collect and Sell Trading Cards and In-Game Items
Another exciting part of playing games on Steam is that you can actually money by trading in-game items and cards. And this is where you should learn how to make money on Steam Market.
Think of trading cards on Steam as collectible baseball or Pokémon cards. They hold some value and that’s why gamers covet them. And the best thing is, you can trade those cards and items inside the Steam Market and the proceeds of the sale would go straight to your Steam Wallet.
But how to make money with Steam trading cards and in-game items?
Easy. Just play games on Steam.
You see, Steam would drop trading cards in each game you play. You will typically receive three cards. The first one is dropped after 15 minutes of playing, while the others will drop after two hours or so. These cards will go to your Steam inventory.
According to some gamers, merely keeping the game open still allows you to receive trading cards when they’re dropped (but that wouldn’t be fun, would it?)
Also, you will typically receive half the number of cards for each game. If a game has a set of eight cards, four cards would be dropped to you. You have to obtain the other four from other community members. And this is the reason why trading is so vibrant in the Steam community.
When you’ve had enough trading cards in your inventory, you can list them up on the Steam Market. Some items don’t sell for much, but the rare ones are valuable and sell at great prices.
It’s important to note, though, that not all items are tradeable. That’s why it’s essential to know which are the most popular games and which items are highly sought-after. When there’s a shortage of such items, and you happen to have them in your inventory, that’s a sign that trading your cards would bring in the most profits.
4. Build and Sell Mods
Gaming fanatics can also make money by building and selling mods. Modifications, or mods, are changes to the elements of the game. It could be alterations on the graphical features, items, characters, storylines, maps, and more. These mods give games a new experience, so the Steam community is highly excited for new mods coming their way.
But how to gain money on Steam with these mods, by the way?
Mods are often created by gaming fans, often with the approval of game developers. If fellow gamers like your mods, they’d be willing to pay you for them as a show of support. And if you’re lucky, your mods can turn into stand-alone items, which gives you even more credibility and exposure within the Steam community.
So, if you would like to become a game developer, creating and selling these mods can be an excellent stepping stone. You can get paid for your effort, you gain more knowledge and experience and you’re doing something that you’re passionate about. If that does not spell “rewarding,” I don’t know what is.
5. Build Unique Games and Sell Them on Steam
Perhaps the best way to make money on Steam is to create and distribute your games on the platform. Also, this is a viable way to turn your earnings into real-world money.
How does creating and selling games on Steam work?
If you’re interested in creating games for Steam, you must invest $100 as a submission fee, and it’s non-refundable. You can easily recoup this if your game sells well.
Once you’ve made your own unique game, you will have to sell it up on Steam Direct. Unlike trading in Steam Marketplace where funds stay in your Steam Wallet, the proceeds of your games for sale on Steam Direct will actually enter your bank account.
It’s up to you how much to charge for the game you’re selling. It can be $1 or $100. But whatever the cost is, you must make sure that your game is fun, because this would encourage more gamers to purchase your game. So, if you sell your game for $10, and you have 100 buyers, you would be making $1,000 from that single game.
Remember though that Steam takes off 30% of your earnings as commission.
Building games can take some time, effort, skills, and technical knowledge, but this is where the real money is. The payoff is truly great if you are an excellent game developer.
Such exposure could prove valuable especially if your talent gets noticed by giant game development companies.
6. Offer Freelance Skills or Services
If you’re short on game-building knowledge and skills, you could perhaps offer other kinds of services to Steam’s gaming community and make money.
Game developers are always on the lookout for talented individuals who can help them code and design their games. If you have the skills and talents in this area, you can collaborate with game developers in forums and discussion boards.
With this collaboration, you can contribute to a game’s success, earn more experience, and harness your skills at the same time. Freelancing within the Steam community can expose you to numerous projects that can help grow your portfolio, which in turn, could lead you to more paid projects in the future.
Additionally, you can offer your creative services and create outstanding artwork for the game. You can help create eye-catching content, characters, and scenarios that breathe new life into these games. And the best thing is, you can get paid real money for this and you get the opportunity to network with game developers and other professionals.
If you’re someone with skill and an eye for design, you can also make money from Pinterest and creating memes. You can check out my guide here:
7. Livestream Your Games
Livestreaming your games is an indirect way of making money from Steam, but it works. With so many platforms to live stream your games nowadays, it is possible to earn an income from your gaming hobby.
First, you should know that you can live stream your games on Steam on the platform itself. Valve has come up with Steam’s very own live-streaming feature called the Stream broadcast. This feature allows you to broadcast your games to your friends and to anyone you give the link to. All you have to do is set your privacy settings to enable broadcasting and your games should be viewable in real-time.
Also, you can opt to start a YouTube or Twitch channel and live stream your games there. You don’t need much to start streaming, apart from your computer, headset, microphone, webcam, and internet connection. It also doesn’t matter if you’re not an elite player. Even novice gamers can start their own gaming channel on Twitch and YouTube.
Now, the wonderful thing about live streaming your games is that it opens up different opportunities for making money. Félix Lengyel, the highest-paid livestream gamer on Twitch, earned $1.6 million from subscriptions alone. Apart from subscriptions, live stream gamers also earn money from income donations, affiliate marketing, advertisements, and brand sponsorships, among others.
Alternate platforms for live streaming your Steam games are DLive and Facebook gaming. Some people also use TikTok for their video gaming content, so it’s good to learn how to make money on TikTok as well.
Related: 15 Inspiring Hobbies that Make Money
8. Join Esports Teams
Playing games with your friends is a lot more fun, and joining tournaments as an esports team can bring in quite some cash.
According to Insider Intelligence, competitive video gaming has become part of our pop culture. It is estimated that viewership for esports competition will rise to 26.6 million, an increase of 11.4% in 2020.
Esports teams don’t just get the joy and thrill of playing, but successful ones also gain access to other opportunities, such as franchise businesses, sponsorships, and brand ambassadorships.
Joining esports teams is not always easy because you need to first establish yourself as a gamer. But once you’ve carved a reputation, you can form a group with other great gamers and enter esports tournaments.
The biggest esports games are Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, League of Legends, and StarCraft II.
And in case you’re wondering just how lucrative joining these gaming competitions are, the prize pool for the international Dota 2 in 2019 was $34,330,069.
Frequently Asked Questions about Making Money on Steam
Can you make money on Steam?
Yes, you can definitely make money on Steam. If you are an avid gamer, you can join esports teams and make money from the prizes you win in tournaments. You can also livestream your games on YouTube or Twitch. Once you’re able to build a solid following, other money-making opportunities like affiliate offers and brand deals will soon follow.
If you are a game developer or freelancer with coding and designing skills, you can make money building unique games and selling them on Steam. Your games would become available on Steam Direct and you can withdraw the proceeds of your sales to your bank account.
How do you get free Steam Money?
There are several ways to get free Steam money, and most of them require minimal effort. You can fund your Steam wallet with codes and gift cards you earn from joining and executing simple tasks on Swagbucks, InboxDollars, and Prize Rebel. You can use those codes and gift cards to purchase games and in-game content, instead of getting money from your bank account.
How to make more money on Steam Direct?
The only way to make money on Steam Direct is to create a unique game selling it on the platform. If you are a game developer, this is the best way to make money on Steam Direct.
Given that there are literally thousands of games on Steam, and more are added every day, it is essential that your game stands out. It should be fun and with little to zero bugs or glitches. Marketing your game is also essential in encouraging more sales, and thus, making more money on Steam Direct.
How much money can you make on Steam?
There is no standard answer to this question. Some people take their gaming seriously that they go on to win thousands of dollars in esports tournaments. Others make money by selling the games they built, and the income depends on the number of people that buy those games. A lot of gamers also live stream their games online, and they can make money in a variety of ways.
If there’s one thing that holds true, it’s that Steam is a fantastic platform for gaming enthusiasts to cash out on their passion. The numbers may not be the same for all people, but Steam certainly makes it possible for a lot of people to make money.
Is Steam games legit?
Steam has proven itself as a legal source for video games, that’s why it is trusted by over 120 million monthly active players. The games on Steam are popular among gamers, both pro, and newbies.
Steam also provides a platform for game developers and creators as well as freelancers to make money by building games and in-game items. If you take a look at a couple of Steam app reviews, you’ll find that Steam is a reputable platform used by millions of people with confidence.
Is the Steam app safe?
Yes, the Steam app is safe for purchasing games. Steam was established in 2003 by a reputable video game company, so it’s safe to assume that Steam has strict security measures in place. You can opt not to enter your bank information and use PayPal instead to purchase games and in-game content. Also, there are codes and gift cards you can use for purchases, which means you never have to provide your financial information if you don’t want to.
Looking for more ways to make money online?
Do you have other ideas on how to make money on Steam? Share with us in the comments below!