How To Make Money Playing Games

“Not long ago, a 43-year-old Wonder Bread deliveryman named John Dugger logged on to eBay and, as people sometimes do these days, bought himself a house. Not a shabby one, either. Nine rooms, three stories, rooftop patio, walls of solid stonework – it wasn’t quite a castle, but it put to shame the modest redbrick ranch house Dugger came home to every weeknight after a long day stocking the supermarket shelves of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Excellent location, too; nestled at the foot of a quiet coastal hillside, the house was just a hike away from a quaint seaside village and a quick commute from two bustling cosmopolitan cities. It was perfect, in short, except for one detail: The house was imaginary.” – Wired.

Yet, there is nothing particularly unusual about this transaction – people buy and sell imaginary items everyday and it is already a billion dollar industry. Crazy, eh? Welcome to the world of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games! As an online gamer, I’ve experienced first hand the potential of making money from MMOs and in this post, I’ll share four main ways you can make money playing online games. The beautiful thing is that I know many, many excellent gamers in Kenya and so it is not hard to imagine that many people can earn money from MMOs right here.

Sale of In-Game Items
In almost all games, there is a game ‘currency’ (this goes by many names depending on what game you are playing and can be something like gold, gil, wood etc) which you can use to purchase other in-game items such as potions, weapons etc. Every player of every game needs these items. One way to get ‘game money’ is to grind it out and do things inside the game to collect the ‘money’. These things are often repetitive and, well, boring. Another, easier and faster, way to earn ‘game money’ is to buy it using real world cash. Therfore, if you can collect huge amounts of ‘game money’, you can sell it at a profit to people who do not want to go through the boring process of collecting their own ‘game money’. This is called ‘gold farming’.

Similarly, you can sell game items such as potions, clothing, amour, weapons and, in the case of , John Dugger, even houses! So how do you do it? You collect the in-game virtual items and sell them for real money, mostly to people in the West who are willing to pay high amounts for such goods.

Undead Warlock - World of Warcraft

Undead Warlock - World of Warcraft

Power Leveling
In MMO games, the characters usually progress through a series of levels, from the lowest one to the highest one – with each level increasing the character’s abilities. ‘Leveling up’ a character is usually time consuming and, well, boring. Therefore, another way to make money from MMOs is to offer ‘power leveling’ services where clients give you access to their accounts, and some money, and you play for them and increase the levels of their characters – you have to be really good and fast so that you do it in a fraction of the amount of time the client would have done it alone.

Do note, however, that there is significant competition from China on the two methods mentioned above.

Account Renting
In most MMOs, there are usually servers which represent different realms in the game. This is to mean that a player in server A has no access to server B, even though it is the same game. This presents a problem to gold farmers – what if you have 20 farming accounts in server A and only 2 in server B yet there is huge demand for gold in server B? This is the reason why many gold farmers rent accounts. They look for respectable accounts in different servers to use to farm their gold. If there is a gold shortage in one server, they can rent more accounts in that server and so be able to supply the needed gold.

How do you make money? You provide the rented accounts. You can earn a steady $10 a day for renting out a single account. The more accounts you have, the more you earn. What if you had 10 accounts rented out earning you $10 a day, each? That’s Kshs 7,000 a day jameni!

Account Selling
In my opinion, this is where the really good money is. In every game online, the characters you play are tied to one account. That means that if the character has really good experience points or other in-game perks, the character is valuable. It takes a lot of time and effort to create a good character in any game and they are people willing to just buy an already established game character. The value of these accounts ranges from $50 to $1,000 or even more. Imagine that!

What do you need to do? You need to play hard to create a properly leveled character and then find people willing to buy that character. Such people are in no short supply, fortunately. 🙂

Where Can You Start?
Okay so you know how money can be made from playing online games. But where and how do you start?

First of all, you have to find a marketplace where you know you can sell your stuff. I recommend MD although many other marketplaces exist. Some others are: MMObay, Accountbar, accountsbay, and livegamer.

Next, find a game that interests you and start playing, or working, as the case may be.

Can This Be Done In Kenya?
Of course. I know very many people who are excellent gamers and who, incidentally, have a lot of time on their hands. I bet you know such people too. Well, such people can make good money doing what they love.

In China, making money from MMOs is huge business. People don’t just do it individually, whole businesses are built for this purpose. Do you own a cyber cafe? Why not hire some of the neighborhood teens to play for pay during the night? Just think about it. Read this.

Additional Resources


  1. Thanks for writing this Wambere – its exactly what I’ve been looking for!

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