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How to Make Money on Steam [9 Options for 2023]

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Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to make money on Steam?

Don’t worry; many Steam users have had the same lightbulb moment. However, given Steam’s Wallet restrictions, it’s understandable why you might think it’ll be challenging.

Luckily, some workarounds can see you earning cold hard cash you can spend outside the platform while leveraging it. And we’ll explain how.

Can You Make Money on Steam?

Yes, there are several ways to make money with your Steam account. You can get paid to play games, make your own game and sell it in the Steam market, sell trading cards, and more.

And some of the monetization methods (e.g., YouTube) can be incredibly lucrative when you get them right and provide a source of passive income.

However, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll need to put in a ton of work if you want to make money on Steam, and many of the methods will require specific skills, such as programming skills for game developers who decide to take the game-creation route.

How Much Can You Make on Steam?

The amount of money you can make with your Steam account will depend on the monetization method you choose. 

For example, selling in-game items won’t fetch you more than a couple of dollars unless you sell an incredibly rare item.

In contrast, you could earn hundreds or thousands of dollars if you’re able to build a following by playing games on YouTube or Twitch.

What You’ll Need to Make Money on Steam

You’ll need several items before you can make money on Steam. They include:

  • A Gaming PC or Laptop: You’ll need a gaming PC or laptop if you plan to stream yourself while you play PC games on Steam. They offer better graphics and higher processing power than standard ones.
  • A Steam Account: You can’t make money on Steam without an account. You’ll need one to get free Steam wallet codes, exchange trading cards, and play Steam games.
  • A Fast Internet Connection: Fast internet speeds will ensure that your over-the-shoulder video game streaming sessions will go hitch-free.
  • A Twitch Account (Optional): When you stream yourself while you play games, you’ll need an account on a streaming platform like Twitch.

Other items you may need to invest in include a camera, a microphone, and a gaming control pad. And you’ll also need a credit card on file to buy trading cards to resell later.

Where to Make Money on Steam

We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.

  1. Sell Items on the Steam Community Market
  2. Sell an Original Game via Steam Direct
  3. Earn Steam Codes Through Apps
  4. Sell Game Mods in the Steam Workshop
  5. Sell Steam-Related Art Services on Fiverr
  6. Sell Old Steam Games on Gameflip
  7. Stream Steam Games on Twitch
  8. Sell Steam Trading Cards
  9. Start a Steam-Related YouTube Channel

1. Sell Items on the Steam Community Market

Steam has a reward system that awards gamers with in-game items while playing their favorite games.

If you’re lucky, you can get rare items and pre-release content like skins and weapons, which you can sell to other gamers on the Steam community market.

How Much Can You Make?

The amount you earn from selling in-game items depends on factors like the game’s popularity in the Steam community and the rarity of the item you want to sell.

For example, gamers have sold skins for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for as high as $400,000.

What Makes This Option Great?

This option is excellent for making money on Steam because you can get in-game items in several ways, like in-game purchases, Steam games drop, and trades between friends.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Steam’s Transaction Fee is 5% of the item’s cost (with a minimum fee of $0.01). However, the buyer bears this cost.
  • Typical Payment Methods: You can receive the proceeds of the sale into your Steam wallet.

2. Sell an Original Game via Steam Direct

Another way to make money on Steam is to create an original game and sell it via Steam Direct. Independent game developers use their programming skills to create and sell games in the Steam Store.

You can, too, if you know how to program or have the budget to hire a game developer

How Much Can You Make?

According to Game Stats, indie game developers make a median revenue of around $760. And some developers earn significantly higher (hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars) but are a minority.

What Makes This Option Great?

This is an excellent option for game developers because they can get paid while honing their programming skills with the developed game.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: The Steam Direct Fee is $100 per game. It’s non-refundable. However, you can recoup it when your game makes at least $1,000 in Adjusted Gross Revenue for Steam Store and in-app purchases. Also, Steam takes a 30% commission on all downloads.
  • Typical Payment Methods: Steam will pay your game sales proceeds into your bank account. 

3. Earn Steam Codes Through Apps

You can use several apps to earn free Steam codes. They are essentially gift cards for the platform.

You can use them to get credit to your Steam wallet or purchase games on the platform. Some of the best apps worth using to earn free Steam codes include Swagbucks, Mistplay, and Gamehag.

How Much Can You Make?

Depending on the game’s popularity, you can make a couple of dollars reselling the in-app purchases and Steam games you buy with the earned Steam codes.

What Makes This Option Great?

This option is excellent because it’s not as time-consuming as the others. All you have to do is earn the codes/free Steam prizes using the apps and redeem them on Steam.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: There are no fees or commissions for using apps to earn Steam codes.
  • Typical Payment Methods: You’ll receive Steam codes in your Steam Wallet.

4. Sell Game Mods in the Steam Workshop

This money-making method is similar to developing games, though not as time-intensive. If you know how to code, you can make modifications (mods) to existing games on Steam.

Your mods could be outlandish character costumes, item color changes, gameplay improvements, etc.

How Much Can You Make?

Most game modifications typically earn you a couple of dollars. You’ll only see significant income if your mod proves popular and many gamers (and other game developers) buy it.

What Makes This Option Great?

Creating game mods on Steam for money is a fun way to use your programming skills. You can also gain satisfaction from Steam gamers raving about your improvements.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Buyers pay Steam’s 5% Transaction Fee when they pay for your mods.
  • Typical Payment Methods: You’ll receive the sales proceeds in your Steam Wallet.

5. Sell Steam-Related Art Services on Fiverr

Some people who buy games on Steam are such hardcore fans that they’d like to see the games’ characters in new scenarios.

If you have decent art skills, you can capitalize on their love by selling your services on the gig economy platform Fiverr

You’ll sell gigs like pixelating their favorite characters, building 3D models of game worlds, selling custom wallpapers, etcetera.

How Much Can You Make?

It depends on the kind of gig you sell. For example, you can earn between $10 and $50 selling custom wallpapers.

What Makes This Option Great?

This can be an enjoyable way to make money with your art skills. And there’s also the added element of satisfaction when you’re a fan of the Steam game you’re making custom art for.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Fiverr charges a service fee of 5.5% of the purchase amount. If your gig is under $50, the platform will also charge a $2 small order fee.
  • Typical Payment Methods: You can receive your Fiverr earnings through PayPal, bank transfer, direct deposit, Payoneer, and Fiverr’s revenue card.

6. Sell Old Steam Games on Gameflip

If you’re an avid Steam user, it’s likely there are games in your library that you don’t play anymore.

Even though you can’t resell your old games on Steam directly, you can use a website like Gameflip to sell the old game at a discount.

The transaction will go as follows: you describe the game you’re selling and set its price. When a buyer pays for it, you offer them the Steam key for the game.

How Much Can You Make?

Since you’re selling games at a discount, you can expect to make half the amount you paid for the game when you originally bought it or lower.

What Makes This Option Great?

This earning method is excellent because it lets you earn money in exchange for the old games you won’t play anymore.  

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Gameflip charges a commission of 8% of the sale price (with an additional 2% for digital items).
  • Typical Payment Methods: You receive the proceeds of the sale in your Gameflip wallet, which you can withdraw (via payout) to your Wise, Payoneer, Skrill accounts, or Bitcoin wallet.

7. Stream Steam Games on Twitch

Do you aspire to be a professional gamer? And do you feel like you can entertain people while streaming yourself play Steam games? If yes, consider streaming on Twitch to earn with Steam.

If you become a Twitch partner, the platform will pay you a percentage of the ad revenue earned from your channel’s subscribers. And if you have loyal subscribers, you can receive donations from them.

How Much Can You Make?

Build a big enough following, and you can earn hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars in passive income recurrently. You may even get sponsorships from companies willing to pay you thousands for a plug.

What Makes This Option Great?

This option is fantastic because you can earn income in myriad ways, including sponsorship, donations, affiliate income, and ad revenue.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Twitch collects 50% of the subscription fee earnings its partner creators bring in from their channels.
  • Typical Payment Methods: Twitch pays via direct deposit, check, wire transfer, hold payouts, and PayPal.

8. Sell Steam Trading Cards

Much like you would from in-game items, you can earn Steam Trading Cards when you play games on the platform.

The difference between the two virtual items is that the trading cards are collectibles; you can’t use them in-game the way you would skins and other items. 

However, you can change your Steam cards into game badges or valuable community items or sell them to earn Steam Wallet funds. In the latter case, you can use the money to purchase in-game items, games, and so on.

How Much Can You Make?

Depending on the value of the trading card, you can earn a couple of dollars in Steam Wallet cash.

What Makes This Option Great?

Collecting and exchanging Steam Trading Cards is a fun way to participate in the Steam Community. And earning in-platform cash you can use to buy other games is an excellent bonus.

  • Typical Fees/Commission: Steam charges buyers a 5% transaction fee.
  • Typical Payment Methods: You’ll receive your earnings in your Steam Wallet.

9. Start a Steam-Related YouTube Channel

YouTube provides an excellent opportunity to earn money with Steam through live streams and video content.

When you build a large following, the sky is the limit regarding how you can earn money with your Steam-related YouTube videos.

How Much Can You Make?

If you do things right, you can earn hundreds to thousands of dollars in passive income, sponsorships, and affiliate earnings.

What Makes This Option Great?

This option is great because you can earn money in multiple ways, like ad revenue, sponsorships, and affiliate revenue. 

  • Typical Fees/Commission: YouTube doesn’t charge a commission for building a channel on its platform.
  • Typical Payment Methods: Google (YouTube’s parent company) pays AdSense revenue via electronic funds transfer, check, and direct deposit.

Why You Should Consider Making Money on Steam As a Side Hustle

Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider making money on Steam:

  • It’s Enjoyable: If you love to play games, we couldn’t recommend a better side hustle to answer extra cash needs.
  • Improve Your Skills: As an aspiring indie developer, you can improve your skills by creating games for Steam.
  • Earn Passive Income: Some of the money-making options (YouTube, Twitch, game creation, etc.) can provide a recurrent source of passive income.
  • Do It From Anywhere: As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can do this side hustle anywhere in the world.

Problems With Playing and Selling Steam-Related Items for Money

While there are many reasons to make a strong case for diving into this side hustle, you may want to reconsider this side hustle for the following reasons:

  • Time-Consuming: As lucrative as options like YouTube and Twitch streaming can be, they’re incredibly time-consuming.
  • Expertise Needed: Some of the options require you to have drawing and programming expertise.
  • Not a Significant Income: In some cases, your efforts will earn you nothing more than a handful of dollars.
  • Cumbersome Payouts: Due to there being no way to get funds out of Steam directly, you’ll have to use workarounds like Gameflip to earn money.

How To Make Money on Steam: Step-By-Step Instructions

Here’s how to make money online with Steam in a couple of easy steps:

Step 1: Register on Steam and Download the Steam App

The first step to earning money through Steam is registering for an account on the platform or downloading its app.

You can either click the “Join Steam” button on the Steam website and follow the prompts or click “Create a New Account” and follow the prompts after downloading the app. 

Step 2: Fund Your Steam Account

Many of the Steam money-making options mentioned above require a Steam Wallet, as you’ll need funds to buy games, in-app items, and so on.

You can fund your wallet with the minimum amount ($5), $10, $25, $50, or $100. 

Step 3: Buy Games and Items

Once you have a funded Steam account, your next step is to purchase and download games. If you plan to earn by streaming games or getting in-app items, you’ll need games to play. 

Step 4: Create an Account on a Video-Streaming Platform (Optional)

If you plan to earn streaming ad revenue, you’ll need to open an account on YouTube or Twitch.

The sign-up process is straightforward. All you’ll need is an email account.

Once you’re signed up, you can build a following by streaming yourself and playing Steam games.

Things to Consider When Playing or Selling Steam-Related Items for Money

There are several key considerations you need to make when attempting to earn money on the Steam platform; these include:

1. Your Available Free Time

Building a following on YouTube and Twitch will require time and effort and will be challenging to do if you don’t have enough of the former. 

Therefore, if you aren’t willing to dedicate the needed hours or your schedule won’t allow it, consider another monetization method.

2. Your Skills and Available Resources

Many of the methods discussed require significant skills. For example, you’ll need programming skills to build a game and drawing skills to start an art-related service on Fiverr.

Meanwhile, building a Twitch or YouTube following requires equipment like cameras, microphones, and lighting. 

Not to mention the video editing skills needed to create decent video-based content. Expect to fork out a couple of hundred dollars for a decent gaming laptop.

And you’ll also need to hire people with the skills you lack if you’re dead-set on monetizing through content creation.

3. Game Genres

This consideration applies whether you’re creating a game or you decide to live-stream Steam gameplay: you’ll need to do market research when deciding on a genre to work with. 

Take first-person shooters (FPS) as an example: they’re usually more exciting for streaming than platformers or fighting games.

In contrast, many of Steam’s most-played indie games are adventure games. 

4. Consider Specializing

If you decide to create indie games, consider specializing in one genre initially. Creating specific games will help you build a brand and hone your skills. 

In addition, you can develop games more quickly because you’ll have tons of reusable assets and code from your previous games. You can branch out into different genres when you’ve developed a big enough following.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Best Games to Make Money on Steam?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Player Unknown Battle Grounds (PUBG), Apex Legends, and Half-Life are a few of the best games you can stream to make money on Steam.

How Much Does Steam Pay Per Download?

After taking its 30% cut, Steam pays developers 70% of the sales proceeds for every game they sell on the platform.

What is the Highest-Selling Steam Game?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. According to Steamcharts.com, this record-breaking game had 1,802,853 concurrent players as of May 6th, 2023.

Similar Ways to Get Paid

If you don’t think Steam provides a good opportunity for you to make money? Try one of these alternatives instead:

  • Get Paid to Watch Videos: There are websites that will pay you to watch videos. This side hustle isn’t as time-consuming or resource-heavy as Steam-related ones.
  • Get Paid to Play Video Games: Fortunately, you’re not limited to playing games on the Steam platform. Some websites pay you to play other video games.
  • Make Money with a Laptop: The internet provides numerous ways to make money with your laptop outside of Steam.

The side hustles above are all excellent because you can earn via PayPal. This means you’re not locked in by Steam’s Wallet restrictions.

Wrapping Up

The Steam platform offers plenty of opportunities to make money if you know what you’re doing. It can be rewarding to jump in and start earning with this side hustle.

With a decent amount of effort, some skills, and a Steam account, you can make some cash with Steam.

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