10 ways gaming can make you super rich


You're handy at FIFA. You can hold your own against the most foul-mouthed Texan 14-year-old. Yet, despite everything, you've struggled to convert your three-games-a-day habit into anything more substantial.

But that doesn't mean you should give up. In recent years competitive gaming, or eSports, has emerged from fringe obscurity to major spectator events (several million tuned in to the finals of the major DOTA 2 2015 championship, 'The International'), and the pot of prize money offered to professional gamers is beginning to rival that of more "traditional" sports.

We're talking millions. The type of money that footballers and Colombian drug dealers make.

So which games can make you money? And do you have to be a pro-player to make cash from your obsession? Here are 10 methods of turning your hobby into cold hard cash (if you're good enough).

  • 10 ways gaming can make you super rich

    The International

    Game: DOTA 2

    Prize pot: $18,429,613 (winning team receives $6,634,661)

    The biggest pot in the eSports industry belongs to the DOTA 2 championship, The International (pictured).

    The tournament sees 16 teams take part - some invited by the game's creator Valve, others qualifying through regional events. Two teams of five duke it out in the game's battle arena, each controlling their own hero. Smash enemy structures, units and other heroes, collect gold and... well, that's basically it. 

    You'll need to quit your job to build up your DOTA 2 skills to reach tournament standards - but it could be worth it. The highest earning eSports player, Peter "ppd" Dager has raked in over $2 million to date.

    Find out more here.

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    Smite World Championships

    Game: Smite

    Prize pot: $2,612,259

    Last year, the five-man team Cognitive Prime walked away with $1,306,130 after proving they were the best at smiting in Smite.

    Players control their own deity, boasting their own abilities and powers. Games see you madly rush about destroying the opposition's structures, enemies and other deities, resulting in mad, explosive moments like the one pictured.

    To go about tooling up for the 2016, contest, head here.

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    League of Legends World Championships

    Game: League of Legends

    Prize pot: $2,130,000 (winning team receives $1,000,000 top prize)

    Some 17,000 spectators packed out the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin for the finals of the League of Legends World Championships - they managed to pack 30,000 into the Seoul World Cup Stadium for the 2014 event.

    League of Legends is another multiplayer battle arena game that sees two teams of five do battle in a vast arena. Destroy enemy towers, make your way into their base and knock out their "nexus" before they do. It's frantically fast, with complex levelling systems running alongside the gameplay. 

    We can almost guarantee you won't be ready for this year's contest, but you can find out more here.

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    StarCraft 2 World Championship Series

    Game: Star Craft 2

    Prize pot: Over $2,000,000

    How's your touch typing? 

    It's going to need to be seriously quick to stand up to the StarCraft 2 World Championship Series - with champions usually able to execute around 300 command actions every minute. You can see what that looks like here, as a player commands their individual units across a manic battlefield. Think Command & Conquer - but... harder.

    With that in mind, you can find out about this year's championship here.

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    Halo World Championship 2016

    Game: Halo 5: Guardians

    Prize pot: $2,000,000

    A truly international affair, with teams of four taking part from the UK, Germany, the US, Canada, China, Australia, Brazil - basically, anywhere they sell an Xbox One.

    With various "best-of" rounds to play throughout the course of the tournament, each team has to demonstrate they've got what it takes to dominate Team Slayer (first to 50 kills) and objective-based game types.

    Epsilon eSports recently won the UK arm of the international qualifiers, picking up $7,500 in the process. 

    Find out more here.

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    Call of Duty Championship

    Game: Call of Duty (2015 used Advanced Warfare)

    Prize pot: $1,000,000

    Every eight-year-old in the northern hemisphere probably thinks they're good at Call of Duty, but this tournament separates the boys from the slightly-younger-boys.

    Teams of four take part in a selection of game modes (Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, Uplink, and CTF) in a round-robin best-of-five (that's a lot of CoD) to determine a winners bracket and losers bracket. There are yet more best-of-five games, culminating in a grand final. To the winning team: $400,000, and the ultimate bragging rights. 

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    DreamHack Open

    Game: Counter Strike: Global Offense

    Prize pot: $500,000

    They pack a lot into a DreamHack event: there are hackathons for programmers, the biggest LAN party ever (!), cosplay and a huge esport competition for Counter Strike players.

    You have to be a seasoned CS player to be in with a chance of competing though: each of the international rounds sees six teams invited to take part, joined by two further teams that have battled through online qualification. Head here to see how you can join in the action (and inevitably find yourself lacking).

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    ESL One: CS:GO

    Game: Counter Strike: Global Offensive

    Prize pot: $250,000

    One of the biggest opportunities for Count Strike players to cash in on their skills is comes in the form of the Electronic Sports League (ESL) One event.

    An annual affair held at the LANXESS arena in Cologne, 16 teams of five compete for a $250,000 prize pot.

    The event prides itself on providing more of a "tournament" experience for the fans - with tickets available to camp for the whole event. As for the main action itself, entry is split between invitations (you're not good enough) and online qualification rounds. Head here for more info.

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    World of Warcraft Character Building

    Game: World of Warcraft

    Earnings: Variable

    Enjoy nothing more than pouring every hour of your week into your favourite video game? What if you could get paid for it, without having to go toe-to-toe with other "pro" gamers?

    Such is the impatience of some World of Warcraft players that there's a steady living to be had building characters for other people to purchase - despite Blizzard openly objecting to the sale of accounts. 

    One account with a heap of high-level armour and weapons was sold in 2007 for €7,000 (£5,321.59). Best get building.

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    FIFA Interactive World Cup

    Game: FIFA 16

    Prize pot: $26,000

    So maybe 'hardcore' video games aren't your thing. Perhaps you're more at home on a grass turf with a ball at your feet?

    Unfortunately, the competitive world of FIFA playing doesn't boast as many major cash prizes (there's not the same level of sponsorship available) as PC eSport titles - but if your thumbs boast some serious ball skills then you can win some money-can't-buy prizes.

    The winner of this year's FIFA Interactive World Cup will pick up a cash prize of $20,000 in addition to two tickets to FIFA's Ballon d'Or event. 

    To find out how to enter, head here.