Nearly three million people are playing Fortnite at any given time of the day. According to developer Epic Games, the video game had 350 million registered accounts in 2020.
Users can level up by opening chests, getting “skins”, weapons or powers, getting crowns, or destroying other players. Frequent players earn experience points and can also earn victories by purchasing items offered in the game itself.
According to the American consulting firm Newzoo, the world of video games generates about 150 billion euros in revenue per year. This number exceeds the number of the film industry and the music industry combined and continues to grow. It’s not just the big promoters who profit from the business: the Outer Markets sell Falcon Suits, Bows, Knives, Screws, Abilities, Virtues, Keys and Chests – and Bills.
Javier Collado, 26, has entered a business where everything is virtual except for cash (although some transactions use cryptocurrency). He has been playing video games all his life. His friends are players from other parts of the world whom he has never met in person. One of them told him that he could make his hobby profitable there: create accounts, play and level up, and then resell them to other players. He was attracted by the idea of making a profit. Now he has sold over a thousand accounts. He doesn’t consider it a business, as he spends the profits to pay for his aviation education and the flying hours he needs to become a professional pilot. But thanks to his hobby, he now earns a salary that ranges “between 1,200 and 1,500 euros a month,” he elaborates.
It all started with one account. He played the game “from morning to night” for a week, and it was ready for sale. He repeated the maneuver about 20 more times. The account that brought him the most money earned 300 euros. In his best months, after Christmas, which is one of the most popular periods for his services, he earned 3,000 euros. (Platforms that make it easy to buy and sell withhold 15% to 20% of income.) Collado has a tax advisor, he writes his returns and pays his taxes.
After his first foray into the business, he realized that it took a long time. He has developed a reputation among the players and has become primarily a go-between: he buys accounts in bulk and then resells them using his reputation and the valuation of his previous buyers. This notoriety allows him to acquire accounts worth between one and three euros and resell them for about 20 euros after they have been verified and, in some cases, games to level up. “I try to make sure that nothing can cause problems for people who buy. I take my share of responsibility and want this experience to be beneficial for everyone,” he says, explaining that there are hackers who steal and resell accounts.
The motivation is clear: “Games are competitive systems. You go up and down the levels. There are people who want to skip the time it takes to invest in the first levels, or others who, after years of experience, get stuck at one level and want to climb the other way,” he explains. Progress in this direction is frowned upon, but some online pages serve as platforms for sellers and buyers, even managing warranty systems. Some of them even delay payment for several weeks until the buyer checks that everything is in order and the purchase is in line with the offer.
Collado is confident that game owners are aware of these pages. The account market generates more interest in the game, more motivation for those who create a new account thinking they can get better, and more incentives.
Anyone can join the company, Javier Collado knows this. But he is not afraid to lose his market share: users are very competitive and usually look for account resellers who offer them guarantees or who, like him, specialize in certain games.