How can I earn money playing games on Steam? (Complete guide)

Steam is a gold mine for PC gamers. But what about gamers who want to make a little cash from their gameplay? Are there any ways to make real money from playing games on steam? Let’s take a look.

How can I earn money playing games on Steam? You can sell cosmetic items, loot boxes, and rare in-game items. Selling items adds Steam credit to your account. You can “cash out” steam credit by buying games and selling them on 3rd party websites.

It is absolutely possible to make money on steam. We’ll look at a number of ways you can turn gameplay into cash. First, we’ll look at selling in-game loot on online marketplaces. Then, we’ll move on to loot boxes and Steam trading cards before ending on selling skins. If that’s not enough to pique your interest, I don’t know what will!

Earn money from Selling in-game loot

Selling your hard-earned in-game loot is one of the easiest ways to make money through Steam gaming. And, it’s one of the most fun ways.

But how does it work?

Let me show you. But first, make sure your game tick off these five boxes.

  1. Choose a game that spills out rare loot.
  2. Choose a game that allows you too gift your loot to other players.
  3. Choose a game that is popular. After all, there’s no point playing to sell items if nobody’s around to buy them.
  4. Make sure it’s a game you love to play. Believe me, you’ll be playing it a lot!
  5. Check to make sure the loot from your chosen game sells on eBay for reasonable amounts of cash. If it sells for small amounts of cash it will not be worth your time.

Once you’ve found a game you love to play and ticks all the above boxes, it’s time to crack on and play.

Then play some more…

Once you’ve played lots, leveled up your character and started to collect some hardcore loot, it’s time to sell it.

But first, you’ll want to do a little research to find how much all your items sell for online. Head onto eBay, and type your in-game item’s name in the search box. Follow that with the game’s name.

Now, if you had done your research at the beginning, you’ll have a rough idea of how much the items sell for.

Once you find a number of prices for your item, work out an average price. Aim to price your item in the lower half of the average price range for that item. This means you’ll undercut the users trying to sell overpriced items. But you won’t destroy the market by selling undervalued goods.

Next, you’ll want to list the item for sale. Then it’s just a question of waiting for a bid or a buy it now.

Once your item has sold, you’ll have real cash in the bank. And it’ll all be down to you playing games.

Earn money selling loot boxes

Loot boxes have become synonymous with modern multiplayer games as Publishers – not developers – try to drain out every last drop of cash from gamers.

However, instead of letting the publishers get the last laugh, Steam lets you sell Loot boxes for steam credit.

Ok first things first, what is Steam credit.

Steam credit is just cash you carry in your Steam wallet. But why do we call it credit?

We call it credit because once cash is in your steam wallet, you can’t easily cash it back out again. You can only use your credit to buy games or items.

Anyway, back on topic.

So loot boxes are a great way to earn credit because many games spit them out. You then take the unopened loot box and place it on the Steam marketplace.

Rare loot boxes can often sell for up to $5. But Ultra rare loot boxes can sell for hundreds of dollars.

Buyers are literally spending their hard earned cash on the hope of finding the item they crave inside. Even though the chances of finding any given item are actually lower than your chance of winning the lottery!

But, if you can play games quickly and stop yourself from opening the loot boxes long enough to sell them, you can actually make a decent amount of cash every single time you play your favorite game.

If you play your game for 2 hours, and on average in that time you get 10 loot boxes, you could, in theory, make $10. Now, do that for 30 days a month and it’s a nice little side earner.

Earn cash selling Steam trading cards

Steam trading cards were first introduced back in 2013. They were designed to act in a similar way to the Xbox live trophy system. They are rewards for completing in-game events.

However, they rapidly moved beyond a simple trophy system. Steam cards are now given out in nearly 7000 games across Steam, and they are rewarded for buying games during Steam Sales.

However, Steam has created a powerful trading system with the cards because you can’t collect all the cards a game has to offer from your own play through.

For example, Half-Life 2 has a total of 8 cards on offer. However, you’ll only ever be able to acquire 4 of those cards randomly from your own play through. The only other way to get the 4 remaining cards is to trade with other gamers.  

And the only way to trade is to spend cash.

So a marketplace was born.

Incredibly rare cards quickly started to appear and sell for boatloads of cash. Some cards have sold on steam for nearly $2000!

A huge reward for your gaming efforts!

Earn money selling Skins

Another great way to earn cash on Steam is by selling skins.

But what is a skin?

A skin is a texture that wraps around your in-game avatar, gun or item to give it a unique look in game. They are usually an in-game loot item and won by opening a loot box that is awarded for competing in the game.

Skins have boomed into a massive business on Steam. Ultra rare skins are often traded for over $1000 dollars. And there are more skins joining the plus $1000 club every day.

Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), offer skins as a reward for playing multiplayer games. You’ll receive skins for just playing. But if you are good, and can win games, you’ll receive extra loot/better loot. So it pays to be skilled.

Unfortunately, regardless of how good you are, the chances of getting a high-level skin in CS:GO is very slim.

Other games, such as DOTA and Team Fortress 2, also offer skins for avatars as well as in-game cosmetic items. These can be sold in exactly the same way as CS:GO and are viable alternatives to making money.

There are even online marketplaces dedicated to selling skins such as Skins cash.


So, can you make money playing games on Steam?


First, we looked at games where you can earn and eventually sell in-game loot on eBay. It’s a rewarding and legitimate way of making money from playing games on steam. And It shouldn’t break any of Steam’s rules.

Next, we had a look at selling unopened loot boxes to make money and touched on the difficulty of cashing out on Steam.  

Then we took a quick peek at selling Steam trading cards. It may not be the best way to make cash on Steam, but considering you earn cards for completing mundane in-game tasks, it’s worth selling them.

And finally, We took a look at how you can earn skins in games like CS:GO and how you can sell them through Steamt or 3rd party websites.

So there you have it. You can make money from playing games on steam. If any of you reading this have to experience making money on Steam, drop us a line in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you and chat about your experience.

Related Questions

Will Steam ban my account for selling loot? Steam will not ban your account for trading items legitimately.

What games can I earn money with on Steam? There are many games where you can earn money on Steam. Check out our article for a comprehensive list of games.

What is the difference between Steam credit and cash? Steam credit is money locked-in your Steam account that you can spend. There is no way to directly “cash-out” your money through Steam.

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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