Video games have been steadily decreasing the space between virtual and reality over the past two decades. More polygons, higher fidelity, ragdoll, bullet drop – to name but a few immersive innovations. However, there is one that perhaps trumps them all.
In-game markets have rather abruptly risen to prominence since the dawn of the MMO. Games such as EVE Online and World of Warcraft have allowed gamers to sink as much cash as they’d like into the variably predictable, sometimes controlled, and sometimes terribly volatile markets in order to make a hell of a lot more.
Well, usually they’d do it just to get that snazzy new item or slap their created character’s bank account silly with a truckload of bullion. And while being rich in a video game may seem pointless to some, surprisingly that wealth isn’t worthless in the real world.
Cash flow through that matrix doesn’t have to be a one way street. In fact, nowadays, making money in video games is splendidly simple, if you know where to look…
Everyone has heard of Counter Strike skins and the not too long ago controversy of the gambling sites that allowed its users to bet on, and win skins, ranging from cents to hundreds, possibly even thousands of dollars. While great in concept, and not so great in practice due to lack of transparency from the management and site age restrictions, what this proves is that video games have evolved into a lucrative financial playground, and there’s plenty of cash to be made for those with the right eye.
For now, we’ll be exploring the safer, and less seedy side of in-game markets. Though not entirely risk-free, trading in video games is no less viable than trading real life stock or Cryptocurrency.
Bubbles and bulls abound! Watch your step, andHOLD on tight – for the Top 4 Video Games with the Biggest Economies, and (more importantly to you and me) HOW TO MAKE MONEY FROM THEM!
Number 4 – Black Desert
As a relative underdog of the MMO world, Black Desert is perhaps a strange addition to this list. Coming in at number 4, BD is an infant among titans, and can be easily accused of lacking an in-game market worthy of note, but there is still a lot the video game does well. BD has one of the largest current MMO playerbases (over 2 million), and some strikingly beautiful graphics. And while these two things won’t net you any cash, they’re certain to bring in more gamers over time. In essence, more gamers means more opportunity for you, the seller.
Making money from Black Desert is relatively simple. It is predominantly done via auction and marketplace websites, just like the other MMOs on this list. The trick is to gather items in-game that people want, and price them competitively. Where Black Desertfalls down here, however, at least for us, is the demand. Even despite its massive population, the game’s gold doesn’t seem to sell frequently enough, or with a high enough profit margin, for it to be worth the effort… And most items are so easily attained in-game, there’s little to no reason at all to scour the internet in search of deals.
Oh well, on to the next.
Number 3 – Runescape
With its many forms, Runescape has stood the test of time when it comes to rough-and-ready video games. Starting out as a purely browser based, low-poly experience, Runescape has done well to achieve a hefty 75 thousand (on average) active players per week across all versions, and an equally impressive economy to boot. Now, don’t get us wrong, the game’s a grind, but it’s an enjoyable one, overall.
Runescape’s in-game market is an interesting beast. Items regularly shoot up in value due to massive demand, simply by the actions of a few players, hoarding those items. Does this open up possibilities for making real life cash? Well, maybe…
Most of the money to be made when the Grand Exchange is concerned, occurs afterward. Expertly utilizing price fluctuations, you’ll be able to amass huge wealth. Wealth you can either sell as-is, or invest in items with high demand, and sell those. ‘How?’ you ask. The internet of course!
Number 2 – EVE Online
Giving our number 1 spot holder a run for its money, EVE Online is an MMO with an infamous marketplace among gamers. It seems everyone has a story or two to tell about someone they know who sunk hundreds of dollars into a brand-spanking new ship, or stock, and had a less than ideal run-in with other players out in the endless black void. It can all be lost in seconds, and that’s what makes it so good.
Trading is at the heart of EVE; so much so that it transcends that virtual cosmos. Buying and selling ISK (one of the game’s in-game currencies) and other in-game items such as ships outside of the game is incredibly lucrative, though unfortunately, due to a strict ‘End User Agreement’ is quite strictly monitored too. But how could it not be, when the game’s marketplace is so vast and troubling it can bring grown men to tears.
While the economy is massive; the developers boasting at $36 million dollars a year travelling through the game, leading to amazing opportunities for profit, EVE’s steep learning curve for new players, and a slightly lacking playerbase (likely as a result of the former) place it firmly at number 2 in our list. Which just leaves one more… Have you guessed what it is yet?
Number 1 – World of Warcraft
Let’s be honest, it had to be, didn’t it? With a playerbase of well over 5 million (that’s about as many people as live in all of Norway), a marketplace full of exciting treasures, and an in-game economy fuelled by gold that can be not only affected by players, but also bought outright in cash through micro-transactions – it just ticks all the boxes.
WoW has been going for years, and it shows. The game is nicely animated, family-friendly, and fun. With so many instalments and so many players, two things are certain: There’s a lot to buy, and a lot of gold to go around – but don’t let that get you down.
Gold farms in China – literally hundreds of computers set up to farm gold in WoW – share a lot in common with their Bitcoin mining facilities – What is going on in China?
They’re frequently churning out in-game currency in positively insane amounts. ‘What for?’ you ask. Well, to buy the items that everyone wants and will pay for, of course.
But how does that help you? Simple. Just like China but on a much smaller scale, there’s money to be made for the individual player, in trading in-game items and gold with other players. Historically, players would send cash through PayPal or eBay in exchange for the items they wanted, but nowadays it’s much simpler with sites specifically designed to act as trading platforms for players.
Eldorado.gg is a budding example which offers a space for players to sell in-game items from World of Warcraft – among a bevy of other titles too like Elder Scrolls Online and the aforementioned Runescape(in its many forms). Once you have the items worth selling, sling ‘em on the marketplace, and wait for the cash to come. It couldn’t be simpler!
Additionally, there are always fresh players looking to purchase accounts online – either due to their high level, or deep pockets. This can be time-consuming to pull off though, and is seen as particularly risky for buyers, as with a quick email recovery, the account can be right back in the hands of the seller. Sad trumpet sound.
So there you have it. Four money streams just waiting to be pilfered. Four places to sink or swim. If you’re still having trouble working out if it’s for you, then consider this… In many of the games mentioned, the items and in-game currency being sold at such high prices, can be attained without spending a penny past the games retail price (or subscription fee.) What does that mean? That means with a dash of good luck, you’ll be making good money with next to non-existent costs. Pretty good, huh?
Image Credits: Video Games from Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock