Anti-Valentine reviews PC games and writes about the video game industry.
Times are tough and you don’t want to give up your gaming habit, but buying games is just becoming too expensive and you can’t spare the money for it anymore because the rent has to take priority (unfortunately). So what about earning games? Can it be done? Let’s take a look.
1. Work for Store Credit at Green Man Gaming
Green Man Gaming has a rewards program that pays people for writing reviews of games that they’ve played. The average payout is 25¢, but if you manage to score a first published review for a game, you can get $1 in store credit for a review – and it only has to be a short one. I’ve seen first reviews that aren’t even that fantastic, and they’re less than 100 words. As long as it comments on the gameplay, the graphics, sound, and most other things that people want to know about the game in a summarised form, it will do just fine. I’ve been able to earn over $20 in games doing this, in just several weeks.
You can also make money through referrals. Here you’ll get $2 for referring a friend (as long as you have spent actual money in the GMG store), and they will also get $2!
Playfire, which is closely linked to Green Man Gaming, offers Playfire Rewards just for playing games, and these can even be F2P (Free to Play) games as well. Just for playing a game that is listed in a week’s rewards, you'll receive store credit, and achievements can add up to a lot. Because Playfire Rewards is still in beta, there are still issues with it, so expect to send off a few emails to support so that they can look into the matter. Oh, and you get store credit just for linking your Steam account and signing up for the newsletter.
You also get some store credit with game purchases, ranging from 10¢ to $1. GMG also hosts competitions every now and again with the prizes often being store credit vouchers.
2. Earn BlueCoins at GamersGate
You can earn blue coins – the GamersGate’s digital currency – by writing reviews, but only of games that you have in your account. Luckily there are about a dozen or more free games on GamersGate to give you a start. They pay about 150 BLC (BlueCoins) for a review, and an extra 50 BLC for a rating. A first review will get you 300 BLC and a first rating will net you 100 BLC. They currently don’t pay as much for a reviews as GMG.
You can also earn blue coins by answering questions in the GameTutor section. The payout is 500 BLC to the best answer. Writing walkthroughs is another way to get BLC – 1000 BLC for every approved walkthrough.
You’ll also get BLC with a purchase, and extra for pre-orders. The issue with BlueCoins is that the ones you earn are not valid forever – only for 12 months. The ones you buy, however, are valid indefinitely.
You can also receive BLC for referrals, and the higher your membership status, the more BLC you'll receive. You get BLC for every purchase made through your GG tag, so in essence, it's an affiliate program, but different from GamersGate's proper affiliate program, which is accessible to those who have a Commission Junction account.
3. Write Reviews for Store Credit on Shinyloot
Much like Green Man Gaming, you are rewarded with a store credit for writing reviews for games. Reviews have to be 200 words each, and your first qualified review will earn you $0.40, with every review after that earning you $0.15.
4. Earn Points With Raptr
Raptr works similarly to how Playfire works. You download an app or client and while it has social features like connecting you with other gamers and so on, what it boasts is points that are awarded to you for completing certain actions. These could be as simple as filling out your profile information, linking your Steam account, to filling in surveys. Some of these actions are repeatable, meaning you will earn points every time you do them. You can then spend these points on games, hardware and even merchandise like T-Shirts, etc.
5. Complete Various Tasks at Tremorgames
This website rewards you with digital currency known as Tremor Coins upon doing various tasks, such as filling out surveys, registering on websites, watching videos, downloading apps, and even playing some of the many games on offer. You can choose your rewards once you have enough currency, such as games that activate on Origin, Steam and even GOG.com. You can also purchase Amazon vouchers and Steam wallets too. You also get Tremor Coins for referrals.
Swagbucks and Stuffpoint work similarly to Tremorgames, and you can be rewarded in a number of ways, like receiving an Amazon gift certificate.
6. Post on Walawalagames.com
There's a website called walawalagames.com, which has a forum, where you can post in order to earn credits. Starting a thread will earn you 2 credits, while merely replying to an existing thread will earn 1 credit. You can also get credits by receiving them from others, as a gift or in trade for other items, or you can even try your hand at "stealing" them from other members. No seriously! There's a perk of sorts that once you have enough credits to afford, you can try to steal another member's credits. Very underhanded but completely legal on this website!
Credits can be used to purchase games, and in the future, you can even use the credits to buy Steam wallet vouchers and GameStop gift cards too.
7. Fill out Some Surveys
Some survey panels reward members with Amazon gift certificates, GameStop gift cards, or in the case of Focusline, MySurvey, and Toluna, Rixty Online Game Cards. Rixty is accepted by GamersGate in select regions, and while it was accepted by Green Man Gaming in the past, they no longer support it as a payment method, instead opting for their own prepaid option. Rixty may at some point in the future add Steam and Uplay games to their catalog.
You could opt for the gift card if it is an option, and then exchange it for bitcoin on cardforcoin.com, r/giftcardexchange.com or various other places where people are offering to take unwanted gift cards off of your hands. There's no guarantee you'll get the exact amount that the gift card is worth. With bitcoin, you can buy from Humble Bundle, IndieGala and Groupees, as well as premiumgiftcards.com and SteamgamesBTC.com.
8. Work as an Affiliate for Amazon
Amazon has an affiliate program called Amazon Associates, which allows you to earn money on a commission basis. Reaching the payout threshold with the cheque option as your selected method of payment can be a long, painstaking process, and the direct deposit option is only open to residents of the USA.
But for the rest of us who live outside the USA and have a hard time reaching the cheque payout threshold, there’s the Amazon gift certificate option. As long as you have at least $10 in earnings, you can redeem and get the gift certificate to use in their store. Here you can buy games online and have them delivered, you can buy them via digital distribution, you can even buy Steam wallet vouchers. Some people claim that they haven't been able to use gift cards to buy digital items, but I have received word from Amazon customer support that one can do this. So there are different stances on this. You might also want to check that the item you want can be shipped to you if you live outside the US.
If you are outside the United States, it technically isn’t legal for you to buy online game codes (Steam, etc.), or games that you can download directly, from Amazon, while you still can buy items and have them shipped to your destination. In a case like this, you can opt to have your Amazon earnings paid to you via Payoneer. Just start up a Payoneer account free of charge and have a Payoneer Mastercard debit card delivered to you. Then you can use the card to pay for things online wherever the Mastercard logo is shown, obviously meaning that they will accept your card.
9. Referral Programs
I’ve touched on referral programs briefly earlier on in this article when I mentioned that Green Man Gaming allows you to earn store credit from referrals, as does GamersGate, but there are referral programs outside of these two obviously which will allow you to earn some money to spend online.
Take Coinbase for example: if you refer people who end up buying $100 worth of bitcoins, you will get $5. You can also link your Coinbase account with a service like Bonafide.io which serves to make Bitcoin transactions more transparent and aims to help create a more positive attitude about Bitcoin, which is still in its infancy as regards being adopted by consumers and merchants alike. Here you can get up to $25 in referrals (that’s 25 people at $1 each), which will transfer to your Coinbase wallet. So you can use these Bitcoins to buy games from Humble Bundle (they did away with it as a payment option but due to popular demand, brought it back) and Indie Gala among other stores that may accept this currency.
10. Enter Contests
This isn’t work in the traditional sense, but then again it depends on what is involved. It could just be a case of throwing your number in a hat and if it’s drawn then you win a prize. But other times you are expected to work a bit in order to gain valid entries into a competition. This might be spreading the word via social media, or it might be coming up with a design of sorts, and then it isn’t a draw, but the best entry is selected. I was a bit hesitant to include contests in this article seeing as you aren’t guaranteed to receive anything and your “work” might all be for nothing in the end, but some of them do require some effort and the prize if you do win it, is free, and you hopefully didn’t have to pay anything for it, so measured by those criteria, I decided to put it in.
BundleStars often hosts competitions, where winners receive massive Steam wallet vouchers as prizes.
11. Trade Games
This sounds like it involves buying games, and it can, but this needn’t be the case. You can always use store credit earned from some of the other methods above to purchase games, and you would typically buy them low. You can also grab games that are temporarily free if you’re lucky enough and trade them for whatever it is that you’re after. You can’t legally sell them, although people often do, but trading is encouraged by platforms such as Steam. So say you get a game and you already have it or it doesn't have much value to you. You could try trading it, possibly along with some other games for something you do want. Try trading with Steam Trades or subreddits that are dedicated to trading games. These are probably safer than trading elsewhere, with less chance of getting scammed.
If you've a very good trader you can spend very little money on games (maybe even none at all), perhaps by using some of the above methods, and still get what you want.
12. Sell Steam Trading Cards
While you can't sell games, you can sell trading cards. They typically don't make much, but you can get them simply by playing games in your library that provide them (you have to be in online mode when you do), sell them on the Steam market without bothering to craft badges or do anything else with them, and you'll get a little Steam wallet credit which you can then use to buy games.
The best times to sell them seem to be just before a sale, like the Steam Summer Sale. The value of cards goes up as people are crafting badges like crazy.
© 2014 Anti-Valentine
Maddy from North Carolina on November 09, 2016:
This is a very informative article. I was really only aware of Raptr before reading this. Thanks, I'll be trying a bunch of these soon!