Yes, you can make money on Steam! You can sell in-game items, create mods, sell your own games, sell video game coaching, earn free gift cards, and more. This article covers how to make money off Steam in 12 different ways.
If you’re a gamer, you’re already familiar with Steam, the ultimate video game platform.
And thanks to Steam, your passion for gaming can now become a paycheck!
In this guide, we’ll unlock the vault and reveal how you can transform your gaming skills into cold, hard cash.
From selling items to crafting in-game mods, and even conquering the streaming arena, you’ll not only win battles but also win big in the world of Steam earnings.
Ready, player one?
The first, and simplest, way to make money on Steam is collecting and selling in-game items.
You can collect items and cosmetic crates playing games, and sell them on the Steam Community Market.
There are a few ways to get items in Steam:
- Earn them by playing
- Find an item drop in game
- Buy in Community Market
- Trade with other players
Not all games have item drops, but you can hang out in Steam online communities to find out where you have the best chance of getting awesome items.
Items vary in value. Some are only worth a few cents, but some very rare items can sell for over $1,000!
Obviously, the rarer the item, the more you can sell it for. However, you need to be lucky to get rare drops!
It can be tempting to buy crates in hope of getting rare items to sell/trade, but the odds are usually very low so it’s not the best tactic if you’re hoping to make money.
You can also buy items in the marketplace when price has dropped and sell when the price rises again.
Just like trading on the stock market, prices on the Steam Community Market change constantly.
So if you can identify some items that go up and down in price regularly, you can take advantage of this to make a profit!
You can even place a Buy Order and Sell Order to buy/sell automatically when items reach your preferred price. So you don’t need to watch the market like a hawk.
How to get money out of your Steam wallet
It’s important to know that you can’t sell items for cash in Steam!
When you sell items on the Steam Community Market, you get Steam Wallet credit. You can only use this to buy other items and games on Steam.
You cannot withdraw Steam wallet funds to your bank account or PayPal.
If you are only looking to make money in order to fund your gaming hobby, perhaps this arrangement suits you fine.
If you want to make actual money though, there are a couple of ways around it:
The first way is to use your Steam Wallet Credit to buy Steam games, then sell these games on a third party website that actually lets you cash out, such as Gameflip.
The second way is to sell items on eBay and other online platforms. Do your research about this and be wary of scammers.
Sell trading cards
You can also sell Steam trading cards for Steam wallet funds, in the same way you sell items.
Steam trading cards are virtual cards that you can earn by playing games on Steam. You can collect them and exchange for badges and items, or sell them in the Steam marketplace.
Trading cards are usually only worth a few cents each but sometimes you’ll get one worth a dollar or more. Very rare cards can be worth $100+.
You can earn these digital trading cards just by playing games (usually one after 15 minutes of play and another after 2 hours, and sometimes you get extra card drops after competing levels or scores).
You can also get booster packs which contain three random cards.
Foil cards are the rarest and most valuable. Unfortunately, foil cards are just random drops and you only have a 1% chance of getting one.
Cards are also more valuable if they are no longer available. For example, limited edition seasonal cards will sell for more if you can wait a few months.
Another way to get more valuable cards is to try to get hold of one of the first cards for a new game and sell it on right away. It will be more valuable than waiting until they’ve been out for a while.
Pre-release items are some of the most profitable items to sell on Steam.
Sometimes you can get exclusive item packs or skins when you pre-order a game. These often go up in price after the game is released.
If you manage to get some of these valuable items, keep an eye on prices in the community marketplace and try to sell when prices are as high as possible.
Sell unwanted Steam games / Steam keys
If you have unused Steam games that you don’t want to play, you can sell it on to another player. Unfortunately you can’t do this directly on Steam. But there are third-party sites such as Gameflip where you can sell Steam games.
Steam games are non transferable. This means you can’t sell a game once it’s already redeemed to your Steam account.
But, you can sell unredeemed game codes/keys and gift cards on Gameflip. For example, if you received a game as a gift, or if you just changed your mind before you started playing.
With Gameflip, you can withdraw your funds using Payoneer, Wise, Skrill or Bitcoin.
This is a useful hack to withdraw cash from your Steam wallet to your bank account.
Sell mods in Steam Workshop
Many games let Steam users create their own modifications such as maps, weapons, skins and more, and sell these to other players.
Typical pricing is just a few dollars, but if you create a popular mod and gain followers, this can turn into a nice drip of steady income.
If your followers really appreciate what you do, they can even donate money to support your art!
When you sell items from Steam Workshop, you can withdraw your earnings as real cash – not just Steam wallet funds.
Some examples of mods you can sell:
Designing and selling mods will also help you build your game development skills, which leads us to our next way to make money on Steam:
Selling your own game
If you want to make real money on Steam, the best way is to develop and sell your own original game.
Obviously, this is not quick or easy! It’s also a risk, because your game might not sell.
But then again, if it takes off, the earning potential is literally limitless.
Game development can also turn into a stream of passive income, as your games could keep selling for years after first launched.
Not to mention the potential for in-game purchases!
Your game has to meet Steam’s guidelines. You will need a huge upfront investment (both time and money).
When you’ve completed your game, apply to sell it on Steam Direct.
There’s a $100 application fee, which is refunded when you earn over $1,000. Steam will keep a hefty 30% of games sales.
A Gamalytic report from 2023 found that the median lifetime revenue of Steam games (excluding free games) is around $700. But looking at games over $10, the median revenue is $17,000! And the top 5% of games make over $200,000.
Freelance work for Steam developers
If you are a developer, coder, designer or graphic artist, you can sell your freelance services to Steam game developers.
This is less of a commitment and risk than developing your own game. And it’s a more reliable way of making money – especially if you need cash in the short term.
You can advertise your freelance services or look for clients on any of the freelance platforms such as Upwork.
You can also network in Steam chats and forums to hear about opportunities and connect with other developers. You will also come across gamers who want a team of devs to put their ideas into reality.
Sell Steam artwork
The gaming community on Steam has a lot of hard-core fans who are willing to splash the cash on art related to their favourite games and characters!
A good side hustle idea for artists is to sell commissions to gamers who want unique digital art for their profiles, or as physical prints, phone/desktop wallpaper and and other items.
Popular commissions include custom characters, profile art, and artwork based on characters and gameplay such as pixel art.
Video game coaching
If you’re already excellent at video games, did you know that people will pay you to tap into your skills?
Yes, video game coaching is an established market and you can even make up to $100/hour!
Here are some places to sell your video game coaching:
- Gamer Sensei
- Steam community forums
- Relevant subbreddits
Obviously, you already have to be at a very advanced level if you want to convince people to pay you for lessons. Look for the more popular games to specialise in to have a bigger range of clients.
Stream on Twitch
If you can make engaging content while you play, it’s possible to make money as a Twitch streamer.
Of course, anyone can just stream themselves playing video games so you need to make compelling streams if you want to gain followers.
Perhaps you have a unique gaming style or expert skills, and you need to provide useful or entertaining commentary while you play.
You also need to stream often and consistently so that your followers know when to watch you.
Twitch streamers actually have loads of ways to make money, including:
- Sponsored content
- Affiliate sales
You might think you need thousands of subs to make money on Twitch, but this report showed that you can make up to $200 per month with under 10 average viewers.
Of course, the top tier streamers make $100,000++!
Start a blog or YouTube channel about Steam
If you like the idea of making money with gaming content but you don’t want to stream all the time, you can produce content for another platform such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram or even your own blog or website.
Gaming content creators make money in a few ways:
- Affiliates (when you promote a product and get paid for referrals)
There are so many types of content you can create, such as walkthrough guides, reviews, previews, tips and tricks, gaming news and gossip.
You can partner with developers to get free games, run giveaways and promote new releases.
The advantage of starting a gaming blog over a social media platform is that you can earn passive income, to an extent. Learn SEO, and new readers will keep finding your walkthrough that you wrote last year, earning you ongoing ad income without posting constant new content!
Here’s my tutorial on how to start a blog.
Earn free Steam gift cards
Did you know there are loads of sites where you can get free Steam gift cards and codes by completing simple tasks, playing games, or sometimes just because?
Ok, earning free gift cards is not the same as earning cold hard cash. But, if you are a big gamer and spend a lot in the Steam store anyway, getting your hands on some free Steam cards will free up money elsewhere.
Here are some get-paid-to sites to earn Steam cards:
You can also find ways to get free Steam codes by following online gaming communities, especially Reddit gaming/Steam subs. Many run giveaways, and also share tips and hacks to get free codes.
How to make money off Steam: conclusion
Gamers rejoice, as you can see there are loads of different ways to make money on Steam!
The easier way to get started is selling Steam items. Be warned, you probably won’t make much money, but it’s a great way to earn some extra Steam money while you’re playing.
The best chance of serious profit on Steam is developing your own successful game – but there’s also a chance your game will flop.
A good middle ground is to tap into your gaming knowledge and skills, and sell freelance services to members of the steam community. Whether that’s custom artwork, coding, coaching or more, combining your skills with your passion for video games could be your path to profit!
Whatever you choose, good luck and happy gaming!