Gaming for a living always seemed like some sort of adolescent dream growing up. Being paid to play your favorite game was something most kids only fantasized about, but now in 2013, it actually can be a reality for the truly hard working and talented. Electronic sports, also known as eSports has exploded worldwide, and with it, there is an entire class of 15 to 30 year olds who now play games for a living. Out of the millions that play titles like Starcraft, Defense of the Ancients or League of Legends, these players have gotten so good that many can make a full-time living out of gaming.
The top few players in the world even pull in six figure salaries between sponsorships, team salaries and tournament winnings. So, how can you follow their lead? One thing should be clear from the start; pro-gaming involves a lot of hard work and determination to emerge as the top player. Firstly, gaming can be started at any age! As for me, I was heavily influenced by my elder brother in gaming since young, as I would often watch him play computer games because there was only one computer at home. It all started from a popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game which is the Defense of the Ancients, also known as DotA for short.
I played it for 5 long years before deciding to move onto another similar game but with a much different mechanics, League of Legends or otherwise known as LoL. After playing casually for years, one might want to start venturing into competitive gaming, which also applies for me since I enjoy gaming very much. You will definitely need to find a gaming team of your own. But to do so, you have to practice and play the game a lot to get better at it. And if you play often enough, it will allow you to meet other better players out there too.
From there, you can make friends with the people and plan to form a team together to take part in local gaming competitions and compete against other fellow local competitive gamers. Never take these chances of entering a competition lightly though, give it your best when competing whether in team play or individual skills. Because you will get scouted if your skills are recognized by professionals who plan to set up a pro-gaming team consisting of various best players from the different teams he or she have observed during the game play. Congratulations, you are now a part of a professional gaming team!
You finally get to do something you like, which is gaming for a living. What now you say? This involves a lot of commitment on your part, be very hardworking, start practicing and training really hard, especially as a team. It is important that you get used to playing with four other strangers, or better yet bond with them as much as you can. Teamwork is crucial in MOBA games. Be part of a community, whether it is participating in forum discussions or keeping yourself updated with the game, it is important that you are not practicing in a vacuum.
Outside input and strategy discussions with friends who also play is important when you are going pro. Needless to say, you will have to work like any other working adult, just that your two off days might be on weekdays instead of weekends as many teams are often more free to train during weekends. Next is to start streaming your games regularly and grow a following of viewers. Make updates of your games as they progress and interact with your viewers. Remember the more of a following you have, the bigger your advantage is.
This will push you to become better and represent your viewers in all tournaments. Lastly, always watch previous tournaments game replays, especially the more successful ones, to study other teams’ strategies and understand their game play. This will help in the future to use these strategies to defeat teams or to counter their strategies. Another way to do so is to scrim often against better opponents to constantly improve and learn from mistakes. Being a professional gamer has its perks; not just one or two that I have no idea where to even start from.
Well what else could be better than earning your money with your passion? And you get paid to play, enough said. Moving on to be a professional gamer, you need to enter and win tournaments. Games like Starcraft 2 and League of Legends has crossed the five million dollars mark in prize money. Seriously, this is easy money and all you have to do is commit your time to training everyday spending almost ten to twelve hours in front of your computer. If your team is doing very well, sponsorship opportunities from various huge names for gaming gears like Razer or Steelseries will come knocking at your door.
Excellent gaming equipments were never cheap to begin with anyway, so sponsorships like this help you hone your skills better to perform well during tournaments. Often these companies will also sponsor your travelling and accommodation when your team is required to head overseas for certain tournaments. So basically, all your expenses are sponsored except for your shopping! I am sure this will benefit more for female gamers than to males.
While travelling around the world to compete, you get to go to places and meet people; you might even be urprised that you have fans from overseas even if your team is not famous to begin with. It’s always experiences like these which are hard to come by that make your trip an unforgettable one, a once in a lifetime experience. It is also advisable to make your team marketable to fetch in commercial deals from your sponsors so the income will not be stagnant. Lastly, you gain fame and respect from it, learn to keep your cool in games and the fulfillment and satisfaction rewards as you reap the fruits of your labor. Benefits come with disadvantages too.
Your life is pretty much repetitive, which means long hours of constant, epic combat with people across regions every day. Missing on family engagements as much of your time is dedicated to gaming, so you will have to find a balance for it. Male gamers might have trouble finding their other half due to the stereotype that gamers are mostly nerds, while female gamers get stereotyped that we cannot excel in gaming and get flamed all the time because male gamers will just ask us to “Go to the kitchen and make me a sandwich”, a popular phrases that I’m tired of seeing.
Gaming is also a sport, electronic sports. It is not difficult to become a professional gamer as long as you put in the effort and hard work during trainings. If pro-gaming is your passion, never give up and strive to get better, because you can never be the best as people are constantly getting better and overtaking you. It is after all, a legitimate job.
Courtney from Study Moose
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