The progression of making real money from online gaming has developed into a full blown market of official businesses. In the past, doing something productive and getting ahead financially were mutually exclusive of video gaming but nowadays, a Google search online for buying gold or items in a certain game will result in a number of reputable sites through which trading and payment mediums can be done safely and cost effectively. This goes to show the increasing demand of gamers out there who have a surplus of real money but who are either too lazy & impatient or unskilled in the game such that they need to exchange real money for virtual cash & items. I know that especially in the Asian gaming communities, rich parents will make their kids study hard… followed by letting them play hard! A $50 sword from a video game is the same to the parents as a $50 item from a toy store as long as it makes their kids happy. And to the young slayer of demons and dragons, that virtual sword means a lot more than a GI Joe (or similar traditional toy that you’d have to play with using your own imagination.) For the rest of the business savvy individuals who love to game and are good at it, this opens up a new window of opportunity in that successes in the virtual world can be transferred into the real world.
How does one go about becoming a profitable gamer? Here are a few initial steps; while some may seem fairly basic, many overlook the bare necessities required to maximize their abilities in the gaming world.
1. Get a decent computer & internet connection – An extra 2 minutes in loading times a day translates to over 12 hours in a year. An extra second delay of lag in a game could mean a world of difference in a heated battle. You want your game to run very smoothly and obviously to enjoy the game to its fullest, you’ll want better graphics. If you really can’t afford to upgrade to a better system, I would sacrifice the quality of your graphics so that the gameplay can better flow as this will ultimately get you better results.
2. Choose a game you love to play – In order to actually make it to a point in the game where you aren’t a ‘noob’ you’re looking at investing at least 100 hours of gameplay. By this point, you’d better not be sick of the game but rather more immersed from exploration into the higher levels of the game. My three favourite online games which are undisputedly three of the current top mmorpg’s are WoW, Diablo 3, and Guild Wars, all of which offer intensely detailed graphics, fully interactive environments and comprehensive game play.
3. Setup your workspace – Gaming is now called an “E-sport” in many parts of the world. While its obviously not as physically demanding as a regular sport, injuries are quite common from overplaying or from playing in subpar surroundings. Net cafes in Asia are prime examples of nasty environments that are detrimental to individuals who are exposed too long. There have been several incidents where individuals (probably very unhealthy to begin with) have died from playing a game hours on end with poor ventilation (they are allowed to smoke inside Asian net cafes), lack of nutrition, rest and physical activity. While the previous example was an extreme, other minor injuries, which can still be quite serious, are often a result of a lack of knowledge regarding sitting in front of a computer for too long (ie. Carpal tunnel, vertebrae issues, etc.) I could write an extensive list of issues and resolutions here but we would be going off on a tangent so for a basic crash course on ensuring that you are gaming healthily check out: http://www.wikihow.com/Sit-at-a-Computer and other related sites. Like anything else you do, remember that safety comes first!
4. Coaching and support; Get good at the game – The best part of online games nowadays is the interaction; the ability to play with your friends, form clubs (aka. Guilds/clans/possy’s). Where it was once fairly fun to go off on quests by yourself, a whole new dimension of gameplay, amusement and social interaction now awaits as you and your newfound crew can venture off together. In addition to the fun factor, the ability to be able to share information and to help each other out is an added benefit and is crucial to expanding your knowledge of the mechanics of the game. Online guides and advice are also good and there’s plenty of bits of free resources out there for most games. However, to really optimize your abilities, you might look at shelling out a few extra bucks for some ‘professional’ advice. For most of us who don’t have friends that are game guru’s that can be your personal coach, having a well organized, step by step guide on how to maximize your results can be a very wise investment. Time is money and knowing how to properly execute a certain objective can save you countless hours as well as magnify your bounty. Daneil Chan is an excellent example of a Diablo 3 game guru. His strategy guide provides excellent coverage of advanced methods in the game along with a very detailed but well explained process towards maximizing the gold earned per hour. The more popular games out there will also have their share of guru’s who are trying to make some money but as long as their advice and strategies work and are of value, it’s definitely worth a few bucks out of your pocket so that your better prepared to make the higher returns later on.
5. Selling – One of the most important skills to have in life is to be able to sell – whether it’s a product (real or virtual), an idea, or yourself. In the virtual gaming world, no one really cares about your personality. It all comes down the deal, the bottom line, the cost. Make sure you know the market value of whatever you are trying to sell. This involves doing a bit of research as market conditions based on supply and demand are always changing. Once you have a good idea of what you can get for the item, you need to find your buyers. In game auction houses/marketplaces are obviously the first few places to look on selling items/gold but there are also plenty of reputable sites acting as exchange mediums through which you can list your items. When looking into these different options, don’t just look at what prices items/gold are going for but also the commission costs of the exchange (the costs that the market-maker will take for hooking up the trade). You need to figure out what you get in the end, after commissions (and in some cases tax).
The points above outline the basics of what you need to do to start a career as a gamer. While I cannot personally condone doing this for a living (if we were all gamers, the real world would collapse), I can definitely agree that games are addictively fun but everything needs to be done in moderation. A half day of gaming should have numerous breaks in between and should be preceded or followed by some physical activity to ensure that your physical form does not deteriorate. Remember that your mental and physical state are connected and if your body is going to get lazy, unfit and unhealthy then your focus, reflexes and overall mental health will suffer too. You want to be in peak form day after day for the best results in not just games but in your overall life. Kids may not really care about their financial status but for the adolescent and older, having some extra cash is undoubtedly a desirable benefit; and to be able to make an extra stream of income through doing something fun is a no brainer. Like all other markets, there is competition. For what limited time you will have allotted to games, you’ll want to ensure that it’s time well spent. Get your setup right, effectively train, and do your due diligence.
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