All the big box stores have gaming affiliate programs because it’s the fastest way to get new releases into the hands of gamers. Most pay a 1% commission rate.
Some listed here pay from 5% to 20% and there’s CPA offers too.
The gaming industry is huge and continually grows at surprising rates due to the diverse niches involved. It goes beyond games, consoles and monster PC rigs.
Gaming enthusiasts are rarely thrilled with out-the-box hardware and will invest serious amounts of time, energy and money into custom building their own gaming PCs.
PC parts are a lucrative industry itself, but there’s also consoles, multi-player online games, the three top consoles, which if you don’t know are:
- Sony’s PS4 Pro,
- Microsoft’s Xbox
- and Nintendo’s Switch console
….all have new games launching to an eager audience ready to cough their cash up before the official release.
Gaming Affiliate Websites
Some retailers pay affiliate commissions on pre-release orders, plus everything else added to the basket. (and no, it isn’t just Amazon that uses that tactic to attract affiliates.)
Players of all ages are interested in console gaming. PC gamers are into action games, strategy and immersive gaming experiences using VR headsets – a sub-niche in itself.
Brain games developed with HTML 5 could be an additional category on an anti-aging website or a complete brain training niche site providing a puzzle a day. The possibilities for niche websites are only limited by your imagination.
Building websites and monetizing with gaming affiliate programs can be done by product or by audience.
You could focus on tech reviews (highly competitive) or you could really narrow down to brain training games for seniors (an audience focused website) monetized with free to play brain training games with in-game advertising.
Bonus points if you develop your own and get to promote specific products in your own games. If you can’t (or don’t want to) develop your own games, you can always white label them. One of the HTML 5 affiliate programs listed below has that covered too.
People are gaming for different reasons.
- Serious gamers game because they love it. It’s a thrill, a hobby and it’s a community they’re part of.
- Other gamers are casual, choosing to play games on smartphones and tablets for stress relief or just as a pastime.
- Seniors play strategy games to keep their minds active.
- Students and professionals play brain training games to boost their IQ.
Some Quick Stats:
- In 2018, video gaming content alone was worth $5.2 billion. Hint: Game developers buy loads of hardware and software to create video content.
- The Steam platform release 25 new titles every day
- 63% of male players are into action and adventure games. Of those, 52% are in the 21-35 age group.
- For shooter games, the audience is 74% male. Of those, 54% are in the 21-25 age group.
- For puzzle games, 66% of players are female.
- And get this… 66% of mobile gamers influence the buying decisions of those around them. Not just family but friends too.
Not what you expected, right?
Thing is though,
HTML 5 games are big attractions because they’re cross-browser compatible. People can play them on their phones, and tablets and they don’t need to buy anything else to play the games. Their phone’s enough.
Examples of HTML 5 games are platforms like Zynga – one of the biggest social game developers. They’re behind Farmville. If you remember the Farmville era, you’ll remember the guides that came with it.
There isn’t as much income to be had in HTML 5 gaming affiliate programs as most of the games are freemium, meaning players can download and play for free and the developers make money with in-game purchases. Completely free to play games are monetized with in-game advertising.
As an affiliate, the HTML 5 sector will be a tougher earner as your content would mostly be guides monetized by display advertising.
Unless that is, you have an audience with a need. Like, a health and wellness website that’d benefit from stress relief games, brain training or games to keep the mind active.
Display ads may not earn as much revenue as performance marketing programs will, but they sure do boost the time on site and with branding. You only need to look at Facebook to see how time on site increases with gaming apps.
The third most used app to log into Facebook is Candy Crush. An HTML 5 game. Time spent on Facebook is estimated to be 20+ minutes. Given the top three apps people log in with is Spotify, Pinterest and Candy Crush – in that order…
It’s no wonder it’s hard to get engagement metrics up. People are streaming movies, listening to music, browsing photos or playing games. Not interacting with brand pages on FB.
With the right audience, you can earn so much more by partnering with the brands with gaming affiliate programs paying you top dollar to help them ship top tech to your audience, instead of viewing ads in games.
Top 12 Gaming Affiliate Programs
- DeCluttr and Music Magpie
- Tiger Direct
- Soft Games
- Wondershare Filmora
- Sovrn//Commerce (Formerly Viglink)
- E-Win Racing
- Kontrol Freek
Microsoft is one of those brands you either love or hate, or love to hate. They did gain some more fans when they updated the Windows OS to cater to their gaming audience with Xbox integration on Windows 10. This is the platform for Xbox focused publishers.
Commission rates are varied and low so volume is key. A lot of affiliates will be drawn to the program thinking they’ll get 7% commission rates on digital goods by referring people to purchase Xbox games passes. That’s not going to happen.
The Xbox games pass pays 2% commission for both the Xbox Games Pass for consoles and Xbox Live Gold. They’ll pay $1.30 for an Xbox Games Pass for PC, or $1.50 for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Consoles of all Microsoft products pay a flat 2% commission.
The 7% commission rate on digital goods is there to incentivize developers with cross-promotional campaigns designed to boost purchases of the Windows Store.
Anything purchased on the Windows Store pays 7%. The reason, Microsoft really want the Windows Store to work.
So, expect 2% on games with an additional 5% if you refer your readers/viewers to the Windows Store to make their purchase.
2Game.com’s affiliate program pays 7% commission on all their games. They have a catalogue of games for consoles and PCs spanning multiple genres including action games, strategy and MMORPG games.
2Game use Tapfiliate to manage its affiliate program. As an affiliate, you’ll get reliable tracking and referral links you can use in email campaigns, your sites and across social networks.
Paying 7% commission on all console games and downloadable games, there’s potential to earn a handsome pay load promoting games for the most popular genres, consoles and the latest releases.
And since they partner directly with game developers, you’ll be able to promote games with deep discounts.
DeCluttr and Music Magpie
Both of these sites are large platforms for buying and selling used items with a heavy focus on reconditioned consoles, smartphones, and trading games.
These platforms let gamers trade their old games for cash or money off their orders. The games sold aren’t the latest releases. You can either focus on referring people to sell their old tech and games for cashback or to buy cheaper tech that’s reconditioned, shipped fast and with a guarantee.
Commission rates are up to 10% and the program is run through AWIN. If you’re already an approved affiliate on the AWIN platform, you can apply to join for free.
New affiliates signing up to AWIN are required to pay a $5 fee (introduced for fraud prevention), however, that $5 joining fee is refunded from your first commission from any affiliate program you’re approved for on the platform.
For UK affiliates of MusicMagpie.co.uk, the commission rates and cookie durations are different from the US website.
There’s a lower 2% commission level on tech products, 7% on physical media and 3% across all other product categories. These rates only apply to new customers. The commission drops to 1% when you refer a returning customer (someone who already has an account with Music Magpie).
Both the UK and US stores use AWIN for their affiliate program. Decluttr has a 30-day cookie duration, while in the UK, Music Magpie has a 90-day cookie.
This is one for the PC gamer audience looking to customize their rigs with powerful components from leading brands at discount prices. Tiger Direct stock all the components to customize PCs into a powerhouse of a gaming machine.
The only partner they don’t have on their featured partners list is NVIDIA, but they have their own affiliate program. If you’re recommending AMD, Seagate, Intel products, MSI components or even Logitech accessories, this is where you’ll earn 1% to 3% commission (most likely 1%) on every item bought through your referral link.
The program is run on Commission Junction, has no minimum sales requirements, 14-day cookie period and they give you access to their affiliate support forum. On the affiliate page, they state you’ll receive 3% commissions but in the fine print, there’s a contradiction. It’s actually up to 3% because the pay rates are 3-tiered.
- $0- $4,999 is 1% commission.
- $5,000 to $74,999 pays 2% commission
- Sales volumes over $75,000 is when they pay 3% commission.
While the commission rates are low, among the better aspects of the Tiger Direct site is their ability to cross promote tightly related items to increase the basket value. Because the site solely focuses on computer parts, it’s a tighter selection than what Amazon would be selecting based on their customers past browsing history.
A concept where this site would help you earn with affiliate referrals is helping your readers save on PC components for either building their own PCs, upgrading their systems or buying refurbished and replacing some of the more important parts to improve the PCs performance.
If you have the know-how to produce top-notch tutorials or training courses for building gaming PCs, overclocking GPUs, or boosting the RAM capacity in gaming PCs, this is a parts supplier to consider partnering with.
Soft Games are one of the biggest HMTL 5 games portals with over 400 HTML 5 games ready to embed on the websites of their publishers for free.
The business model is simple as they match game developers with advertisers and use publishers (that’s you) to embed their free games on websites to reach more eyeballs.
Payments are based on ad impressions so the more players you have, the more money you make.
If you’re interested in HTML 5 games, the audience are casual players and unlikely to be interested in buying gaming accessories such as gaming mice, keyboards, and gaming chairs. These are basic browser-based games that are also played on smart phones by casual players.
Most of the games are straight-forward, however, you could niche down based on categories of games to build a niche site with daily sudoku games, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and other brain teaser games.
Consider these as a gateway into the broader age-with-grace niche.
And once you get rolling with the ad revenue, you can divert some of that back into growing your revenue by white labeling games with your brand and monetize your site even more.
Filmora is a favored video editing software for gamers producing top notch videos. Anyone showcasing their prowess with live gameplay demo’s, perhaps those with audiences large enough to get pre-release access to new game launches, they’ll definitely want to create professionally edited videos.
Filmora is the video editing software that lets them do that.
The affiliate program is run on the Commission Junction network as part of the Wondershare product range paying 30% commissions on all their products. The only one suitable for gamers is Filmora so expect commissions from $10 to $30 on average per sale depending on the license purchased.
Sovrn // Commerce – Formerly VigLink
There’s no doubt that the gaming industry is huge, whether you’re earning from games directly, or profiting from the accessories or big brand names in the tech industry.
To get around signing up for multiple networks, you can start affiliate marketing using VigLink’s network. They’ll take a cut of the affiliate revenue earned from your referrals. (that’s supposed to be the fee for making your job easier)
In return, there’s the automation of your affiliate links and matching your keywords to the most appropriate affiliate program, whether that’s a Microsoft product, Newegg, or an eSports tournament program with the chance to win cash prizes through fanfuel.com, which is an eSports fan club running tournaments with cash prizes and an affiliate program too.
The main downside is once VigLink is running on your site, it’ll convert any other affiliate links you use into VigLink affiliate links, taking a percentage of all the revenue earned.
Starting out, it’s easier to start making money through VigLink by using their network instead of applying to various affiliate networks and programs, possibly facing a high number of rejections until your traffic is impressive.
In the shorter-term, sacrificing some of the revenue while being able to analyze what affiliate programs can steer you towards the merchants that’ll work best with your audience could be a good way to go.
A few months of sending traffic to different offers will show in your dashboard, which offers are resonating best with your audience.
In the PC gaming industry, one thing you’ll learn fast is that PC gamers love choice. It’s why they build their own PCs and customize them. They don’t like the brand name PCs because they’re mass produced for profits, compromising the gaming experience.
The same thing happens on components such as graphics cards that benefit from overclocking.
Manufacturers including AMD and NVIDIA take these into consideration when releasing GPUs that provide stability out-the-box, but with the option for advanced users to overclock them to increase the FPS (frames per second). Something that’s applicable to both PC gamers and VR gamers using the likes of the HTC VR headset – needing a real workhorse of a PC to run smoothly.
NVIDIA and AMD are the leading GPU manufacturers with new graphics cards releasing almost annually. NVIDIA are behind the GeForce line with new graphics releasing at price points over $1,000.
Both companies have wide availability, however, AMD doesn’t sell direct to consumers, instead choosing to partner with distributors.
NVIDIA, on the other hand, will sell to direct to consumers and they’ll incentive you to promote NVIDIA products to your audience through the NVIDIA affiliate program, paying you 2% commissions on any NVIDIA product
…and there’s a 45-day cookie period – longer than most.
While on the subject of these two brands, check out the video below – it’s a good insight into the PC gaming industry.
A bit of a backstory: This was part of a dig from AMD hitting back at NVIDIA over the GeForce Partner Program which AMD and others in the gaming industry thought was tying partners into somewhat of an exclusivity deal, meaning less choice for PC gamers.
War games are a niche in themselves and the biggest contender has to be WarGaming.net with millions of registered users.
Making money with Wargaming.net’s affiliate program is easier than selling because it’s a CPA (cost per action) paying anywhere from <$1 to $10 based on the country of user registration.
The program details on Commission Junction show the highest rate is $10 USD for new registrations based in Japan.
The majority of European Countries pay from $1 to $3.50 per registration with the exception of Germany where they’re paying $7.50 per signup.
US registrations pay $6.
E-Win Racing comes from a background in OEM office chair manufacturing, switching their focus to the gaming community in 2016.
Since then, they’ve gone on to become a respected manufacturer of quality gaming chairs with distribution worldwide. Recommending their gaming chairs to your audience earns you 10% commissions. One of the highest in the gaming furniture niche.
In addition to their gaming chairs, they also have desks for gamers too, and the same 10% commission rates.
The E-Win Racing affiliate program is run through the ShareaSale affiliate network and gives you a 60-day cookie-duration.
Sennheiser is all about the sound, providing a variety of audio equipment for a gaming audience, including headsets, sound bars and wireless ear buds.
The affiliate program is run on the AWIN platform paying a flat 7% commission on all the products with a 30-day cookie period.
They are keen to work with partners who are actively involved in the gaming industry with social influence, whether that’s being known for streaming content on YouTube or reviewing products on your website.
Kontrol Freek have performance-enhancing accessories for game controllers including grips, thumbsticks, and longer length HDMI gaming cables.
Their affiliate program is geared towards influencer marketers and YouTube streamers., which is why they rebranded it from simply being an affiliate signup to what it’s now called – The Kontrol Freek Creators Program.
Commission rates vary from 5% to 20% with the lowest tier paid for sales volumes under $150. The 10% rate is based on monthly sales of $150 to $3,000. Up to $4,500 in monthly sales pays 15% and anything above that is when affiliates earn 20%.
This is one to keep up your sleeve until you have a stronger social presence with at least 15,000 subscribers (a requirement), preferably viewing your streams and not just email subscribers.
To get approved on here, build an engaged audience, use and show their products. With time and good performing campaigns, you could be using the Kontrol Freek name and channels as sponsorship for your streams (or podcasts).
Getting the most from Gaming Affiliate Programs
To get the most from any gaming affiliate program, whether listed here or not, analyze your potential partners carefully remembering that affiliate marketing is supposed to be a win-win where affiliates and businesses make money.
Super affiliates make more by making referrals a win-win-win when customers get extra value too. That can come from savings or just an early bird notice of an upcoming flash sale.
Try to think of what the company’s goals are for their program.
In the case of Microsoft, they pay 7% on digital goods (highest of all their commission rates) because they want to make the Windows Store more popular. They’re building a platform and paying affiliates to help them get there.
Wargaming.net wants users to register, try the game for free and hopefully, they’ll love it so much they’ll begin making in-game purchases. The reason behind the $10 per sign up pay for registrations in Japan is simple.
It’s the third biggest market in the world. Last year, the Japanese games market was worth $19.2 billion.
Every business with an affiliate program has it there for a reason and it’s not always just increased sales.
Look over the structure of the payments and get a feel for what the company wants to achieve with your help. Tiger Direct has their commissions structured to attract volume sales with a 3% commission rate on orders of $75,000+. Under that is lower commissions you can get elsewhere and likely easier.
The structure shows they’d be more inclined to approve retail stores as opposed to independent publishers.
But, let’s suppose you have a course coming out showing people how to build a budget gaming PC for under $750. If you’ve priced the parts, and know Tiger Direct have cheaper components, the increased sales volumes on cheaper parts could net you more per student.
Explain that when joining and you’ll be more likely to be approved because of the higher sales volumes.
If your site or your audience isn’t going to be beneficial to partners, you’ll have a hard time building relationships with business partners that pay you handsomely.
Build your site first, attract and engage a loyal audience and then put partnerships in place to monetize with gaming affiliate programs.
Start small by tackling one niche in the gaming industry and focus on building a big enough presence to be an attractive partner to tech companies. Make your money from gaming accessories and software in the early stages.
Build momentum and your income while progressing towards an influencer stage when tech companies send you freebies to try so you can let your audience know about it.
There’s a wide range of company’s you can partner with and you can always start your site with a lower paying affiliate partner such as Viglink then improve your earnings with prestigious brands as your audience grows.