There are 2.2 billion gamers across the globe — the market is expected to reach over $108bn in revenues — it’s no wonder why marketers want to explore this industry through video game affiliate programs.
The video game world is attractive to affiliates for several reasons (besides the game industry statistics).
Major developers and video companies make it their goal to provide the best, possible products to keep gamers happy. Sometimes they miss the mark (loot box cash grabs) but, as a whole, the industry is ripe with innovation and good times.
Gamers get older, and they may have less time to play, but it isn’t a phase. They continue to enjoy gaming throughout their lives — it’s a lifestyle to many.
New studios and developers are always around the corner.
Big names like EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, and Take-Two dominate the markets. Indie studios have been getting in on the action through platforms like Steam, GoG, and Humble Bundle. Mobile gaming has your grandma spending hours on her phone or computer — sending endless requests to help with her crops.
The industry has three important aspects to it:
The companies creating hardware (game consoles) have pretty much the same mission: get hardware into the hands of gamers to create an install-base for their games and online services. Game companies pick-and-choose which systems to support though most are cross-platform, these days, with a few exceptions.
The explosive growth e-sports has helped video games surpass traditional sporting leagues. Twitch is now a top destination for the young and old. These two recent industry influencers have reshaped the marketplace — bringing with it a flood of new gamers.
The current stage of development of the market makes it clear that video games are here to stay, and even though most games are not evergreen, the market as a whole is. Play the marketing game… and you will make money.
Press Start to Join these Video Game Affiliate Programs
Joining an evergreen market is something affiliates really like to do. Or at least should be trying to do. Evergreen markets won’t disappear one day all of a sudden, and make a whole bunch of people go broke overnight.
However, even though the market is here to stay, individual games are not, so every affiliate needs to be careful when deciding what they promote. Some sub-niches have the potential to evolve into something new and keep up with the trends, but some will quickly die out with no possibility of being replaced with a similar sub-niche.
Thankfully, the video game world can be tackled from many different angles. If you’re an affiliate, and you want to join the game (so to speak) there are three main paths you can take.
1. Game Providers
The most obvious approach, and the most evergreen at the same time, is to promote all kinds of video game stores and providers. While providers themselves can disappear even overnight it’s easy to switch to another one and keep your affiliate business profitable.
GameFly is one of the most popular video game rental houses and stores.
The idea is simple:
Users can pick their desired games and have them delivered to their doorstep. The service is subscription based, and this is where the affiliate program comes into play. Every affiliate has the possibility to earn from $15 to $25 for each person who signs up for a free trial.
Every affiliate knows that free trial offers have a lot better conversion rates than all kinds of traditional sale offers. At this moment GameFly offers more than 9,000 games (and movies) so every gamer is sure to find something interesting there, which makes the program even easier to promote.
This might be the perfect offer for you if you run some kind of comparison site, video game reviews site, video game news site, video game forum, and other video game related projects. It’s also a perfect opportunity to create “let’s play” videos or stream on Twitch (and other platforms); this would allow you to continually rotate games and build a great following when leveraging YouTube traffic and affiliate offers.
For high-level affiliates – if you manage to deliver 500+ subscriptions in a month – there’s an individual program with even higher commissions.
Hoyle is a different kind of game store. It offers downloadable games for playing board games, card games, casino games, slots, and other similar products. Even though you won’t find Battlefield among their offerings their games are still very popular and therefore might be good to promote to your gaming audience.
The basic commissions are at 15% per sale, and you can get paid every 30 days if you reach a certain threshold. The program itself is based at Commission Junction, so you need to sign up to the network itself before you can start promoting Hoyle.
As a member of their affiliate program, you’ll also get access to the online reporting and monitoring platform. Various performance reports are sure to improve your results over time.
GamePal is a site that provides services for buying and selling of MMORPG’s virtual currency, accounts, items, and power leveling.
MMORPG (which stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) is a very lively niche inside the video game market these days. Not to mention the vast popularity of those kinds of games, they also (usually) feature things like virtual currency, which can be earned and then exchanged between players.
GamePal offers an in-house affiliate program. You can join it by signing up for a GamePal account and then going to the affiliate control panel. The rules are clear – you get 25% of each sale that happens after your referral.
Big Fish Games is one of the largest producers and distributors for desktop and mobile games. They’re not the household names we’ve come to love like Valve or Rare, but they’re effective at what they do: provide quality entertainment for the masses.
The producer pumps out new games every day from basic match 3’s and hidden object games. To casino-style games and strategy. There’s something for everyone.
The affiliate program pays 40.6% commissions on all qualified purchases. Plus, all purchases made within 1-year. This is quite a lucrative video game affiliate program for those targeting the older, casual crowd. It’s a great match for younger audiences, too.
GameStop is the largest physical retailer dedicated to video games. Their 2014 revenue pushed past 9bn USD. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the industry has shifted toward digital distribution. The store remains a staple for those wanting the old school experience of browsing games and talking with fellow game enthusiasts.
The GameStop video game affiliate program is offered through the Rakuten (Linkshare) affiliate network. Promotions through the GameStop program has two benefits: online sales and physical locations. Allowing people you send to their site the option to buy and pick up — instant gratification and selling on emotion!
The Player Two’s of Video Game Affiliate Programs Providers
You’re also more than welcome to promote video games through affiliate programs and networks offered by Amazon and Walmart. These two retail giants make up a majority of video game sales. Walmart is the better choice between these two since buyers can pick up in store. Though, Amazon did buy Twitch and has that integrated.
2. Strategy Guides and the Gaming Lifestyle
Game strategy guides are a major niche in the video game world. Every popular game has a learning curve, and some people don’t like to figure things out on their own … that’s when they start looking for different guides and walkthroughs.
Not surprisingly, the most popular guides on the market are ones for different MMO games.
Zygor is the provider of the best World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online guides on the market. What makes their guides so great is the fact that they are not delivered as PDF files or any kind of similar content. Zygor’s guides are built in. This means that they can be accessed directly inside the game itself. It makes them much more interactive and easy to use. Zygor’s program is one of the most popular ones on Clickbank, and we can clearly see why.
Some information about the program itself: 50% commissions (around $16.64 per sale), gravity at 89, access to affiliate tools and promotional materials.
Touted as the “Best video game affiliate program online”, VGPMB (Video Games Pay My Bills) is a lifestyle product for gamers wanting to make money from their hobby and interest. The site offers helpful courses on major gaming-related topics from Twitch streaming to buying/selling video games.
The affiliate program is wild. The VGPMB pays $50-$100 per sale (depending on quantity) along with a 90-day cookie. It has full affiliate tracking and 1:1 affiliate training. This is a nice choice for taking your video game discussions into a new sub-niche and profitable venture.
Starcraft has been one of the most popular games of all times, and ever since Starcraft 2 has been launched the craze just keeps getting bigger and bigger. What’s interesting about this particular guide is that it hasn’t been created by yet another vendor who never actually played Starcraft. Shokz is one of the best players in North America, so his guides are always up to date and reflect the actual realities of the game.
The program is Clickbank based. You can get 57% of every sale, which transfers to around $17. After joining the program you get access to a set of banner ads, videos, and PPC keywords. Shokz promises that the affiliate package will soon be expanded to provide more tools and resources.
3. Hardware and Its Problems
This final kind of affiliate programs focuses on the hardware itself – game consoles.
Even though consoles and PC hardware pretty reliable, and most problems can be handled by warranty, there are still moments when gamers need to find another way to have their consoles fixed.
There can be multiple reasons for this.
For example, the repair might turn out to be too expensive, or the gamer might modify the machine on their own, so now there’s not much that warranty service wants to do about it (which is more often the case).
Thankfully, such gamers can get a range of repair and maintenance guides to get their consoles working again at a fraction of the price professional service would cost.
The popular consoles of today (Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One) and the retro and emulator crowd may benefit from these repair services offering ways to keep hardware intact along with its authenticity.
The iFixit affiliate program is probably your best bet when targeting this specific selection of promotions. Though, you could also squeeze in Best Buy — offering tablet, PC, and phone repair services — as an option. When promoting them, you can use a range of videos, banners, keywords, landing pages, articles, forum signatures, and more.
This concludes the list of valuable video game affiliate programs.
These programs will create a great revenue stream for your video game blog, no doubt. They pair well with streaming efforts, too. It’s an industry both fun and profitable for the affiliate marketer. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to play video games, right?
Speaking of which… have you checked out our multi-part series on the video game affiliate niche?
Don’t forget to comment if you know of some other programs that would look good on this list.