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Back in early 2000’s, when I was just starting out as a gamer, most of Eastern Europe had to suffer through the horrors of a dial-up connection to access the Internet. Playing video games, we were confined to the offline world and had to share tips and tricks in person, or very rarely on gaming forums which were still in their infancy at the time. YouTube channels, Twitch, and blogs did not exist in this dark age of unholy screeching coming from our modems trying to connect to the budding digital realm. If someone had told us then that kids would be making living playing video games online in the nearest future, we would have laughed at that ridiculous notion. Who in their right mind would want to pay to watch a bunch of adolescent nerds shooting pretend guns or platforming through imaginary landscapes? Not to mention how, in this part of the old world, the possibility of an impoverished existence was lurking around every corner, and needless to say adults did not appreciate their children wasting precious time and money on video games. If anything, this hobby was frowned upon as a perfect excuse to skip school, fail exams, quit your teen job and let your introvert tendencies take over completely. Certainly not an easy way to earn money and pay the bills!

An Unlikely Job

But, as it goes, the 21st century has proven us wrong, and how! Today, YouTube is overflowing with gaming stars making a decent living out of their chairs, in front of powerful PCs, playing games and having fun. PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer now residing in the UK, started out in 2010 and is currently the highest paid individual in his field. Some unofficial sources, which we are inclined to believe are true state he earns about 10 million dollars a year, just by uploading videos of him playing all kinds of video games. A lot of it probably comes from sponsorship deals and advertising, but his income appears more than steady and the number of his followers is increasing, hitting an unbelievable figure of 40 million in 2016. Does he offer quality content? What exactly did he do to win over so many loyal subscribers? To be perfectly honest, and without judging or putting down anyone, his walkthroughs and let’s plays, the majority unfinished, are mostly about him screaming, yelling, sometimes swearing and making funny faces. If you need help defeating a tough boss, solving a seemingly impossible puzzle or beating a difficult level, his is not the channel to consult for answers. It’s all about fleeting entertainment, watching someone’s histrionics on a face-cam, without a particular purpose or goal to pursue. Which is not a problem in itself, Felix Kjellberg aka PewDiePie gives his subscribers what they want to see, but the amazing thing about it is how big it actually pays off.

There are many other YouTubers like him, though undoubtedly not so successful, some older some younger, who work full time uploading videos and enjoying what most of us can only consider a pastime. It’s enough to scrape up a few hundred bucks via partnership and commercials to make it worth your while actually, not everybody has to develop into a full-fledged celebrity with a six-figure income, a little extra on a side is always welcome. The only investment is a machine able to run demanding games, which must be upgraded on a regular, even yearly, basis to keep up with rapid technological advancements.

Small-Time Poker Pros

There is, however, one other form of gaming that has been receiving a lot of attention and media coverage in recent years. E-gambling, especially poker, breeds many professional players, skilled gamblers who exclusively play online, earn a living and support families this way. Like video gamers, they don’t need to leave home and waste time traveling to generate enough income and sustain a good life. We are not talking about famous players here, but rather those who live and work more or less anonymously, sticking to smaller stakes and trying to maintain a steady winning record. Poker is usually considered a game of skill, not luck, and being involved in tournaments professionally is akin to competing in sports or other skill-based games. One major issue such players are facing is the legality of poker in their jurisdiction. In Australia, the majority of US states, China and other countries poker, particularly its online form, is against the law, with numerous government-ordained measures put in place to prevent access to and cashing-out from casinos and websites offering various poker games. 

Although it’s difficult to comprehend how much has changed in a little over ten years since we’ve got a faster broadband connection and mobile internet, the fact is people today increasingly opt to live and work online. Europe alone has over 90% of all households connected to the internet, and you’d be surprised how many of them have some form of income stemming from virtual activities. While YouTube gaming scene currently holds one too many aspiring young gamers, there’s always a place for talented people who can offer something different, fresh or never before seen.

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