What if I told you that, you can play your favorite game and make thousands of dollars?
Sounds perfect, isn’t it? Well… it’s not that easy!
While professional gaming has a very long history, it was not until recently that it was established as a major, mainstream industry. The area has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years and now people from all around the world are hoping to test their skills against their fellow gamers for fame and riches.
The most popular eSports games of today -like League of Legends, Dota2 or Overwatch-have dozens of official tournaments, award millions in prize money, and turn gamers into incredibly popular stars.
The industry still has a very long way to go but the future of eSports certainly looks promising, with traditional sports teams from around the world investing in eSports, a growing user base, and a continuous increase in popularity.
Becoming a professional gamer, however, is not as easy as one might think.
Being generally good at a video game is undoubtedly important but it is only a small part of what will constitute a career in eSports. Today, we will take a look at some of the things anyone can do to enter the scene, as well as the differences between a professional gamer and an eSports player.
1. Choosing the game
Obvious, you might say, but let’s think about it a bit more …
Picking the game that you will dedicated yourself to is a very important decision. This might seem like an obvious thing but a lot of people do not realize that…
Playing a game as a professional means that you will spend an average of eight hours every day with it.
While you might enjoy a game of Dota 2 every now and then, do you like it enough to invest in it as a full-time job?
Aside from truly enjoying the game, another aspect that you will have to consider is whether you are actually good at it or not. For instance, you might really enjoy playing Call of Duty without being very good at it.
On the other hand, you might feel like League of Legends is less enjoyable but find that you are extremely good at it. This combination of enjoyment and expertise is vital as it will be the first stepping stone in your future career.
This brings us to the next point, which is types of video games. Competing in a MOBA means that, aside from improving your individual skill, you will also need to find, or create a team. In contrast, competing in a fighting game means that you will be solely responsible for your future success or failure.
2. Learn the rules and practice
If you have never considered playing professionally before, chances are that you have been playing the game in the “wrong” way as far as professional gaming is concerned.
Each game has a very rigorous set of rules that you will need to learn and which will help you increase your gameplay ability.
Once you have that part jolted down, it will be time to start practicing.
Now, practicing is far more than simply playing the game. You might already be spending more than eight hours per day on your favorite video game but that does not mean you have been practicing for a career in it.
Practicing as a pro gamer means that you will have to carefully consider every single part of your gameplay. How you will go about accomplishing this is your choice entirely.
Some, for example, might like to record their games and try to identify any potential flaws or mistakes. Others might simply make mental notes of what went right and wrong and try to apply that knowledge to the next game.
Practice is an essential part of becoming an eSports player and every professional gamer will readily attest to its importance. Just take a look at all the top teams and you will see them spending countless hours playing in their gaming houses as non-stop practice is what keeps them at top form.
3. Doing your homework
Weird huh? Let us explain …
Studying is an essential part of many jobs and of particular importance in an eSports career.
In this case, studying refers to carefully observing what established eSports players are doing. Study their tactics, make note of their mechanics, and listen to what they say about pursuing a career in their particular game of choice.
Soon after, you might find that practicing by playing the game may not be enough.
For example, you might excel at player-versus-player fights and you might even have excellent map awareness and an eye for detail. If your last-hitting skills are lacking or you cannot deny to save your life, however, then you will have a very hard time being successful in Dota 2.
As such, you may need to practice a particular skill over and over again before you actually become good at it. This is not the same as practicing because you are focusing on a particular aspect which might need some extra work. Such a thing will only be possible after you have identified your shortcomings so it might be a while before you reach this stage.
4. Start competing
You have picked your game, practiced, and are now very confident in your skills. Now, it is time to put them to the test by competing in actual tournaments. If you are a solo gamer, then you can go ahead and sign up to all the tournaments that you like as this will quickly give you a chance to test your skills.
If you are playing a team game, however, things will be a little more complicated.
In League of Legends, for instance, you may have to rise to the top of the Challenger ranks before anyone takes notice. Once you are there, you should expect to be approached by teams, coaches, and other professional entities.
Alternatively, you can also contact teams yourself and express your interest.
In case you already have a team of like-minded individuals, things will be even better. There are dozens of smaller official and unofficial tournaments where all kinds of teams can participate in. Local tournaments are always fun though this option might not be available depending on your location.
Online tournaments organized by third parties are also readily available. You should make an effort to participate in as many of them as possible.
Like with traditional sports, participating in games and showcasing your skills is a great way to be noticed by people who can introduce you to the next level of the eSports scene.
5. Alternatively, start streaming
And here comes the Twitch…
Competing in tournaments is not the only way to establish yourself as a professional gamer. In fact, some of the top earners in each game have never competed in any tournaments, official or otherwise, and have no intentions of doing so in the future.
In fact, this is one of the major differences between being a professional gamer and an eSports player in today’s industry.
Streaming is, quite possibly, the best way to monetize your professional gaming career. With that said, breaking into the streaming scene is extraordinarily difficult and requires a significant investment from your part. Having good recording gear is vital, for example, as there are too many streamers out there who do not take their work seriously.
For all its challenges, however, streaming is an extremely viable course for the professional gamer of today. The top streamers earn thousands of dollars every month and even the smaller streams can make considerable money, provided that you can find the right audience.
Of course, you will certainly need to consider whether this is a good fit for you or not.
If you are not very talkative or socially confident, for example, then streaming might not be for you. While silent streams do exist, they are usually reserved for niche audiences. The only way to make sure is to give it a go before fully committing into it. In the end, you might find that you enjoy streaming far more than you would have thought initially.
Becoming a professional gamer, in eSports or otherwise, is an increasingly common dream among gaming enthusiasts.
Playing your favorite game while earning a very decent living sounds perfect, after all, isn’t it?
The reality, however, is that pro gamers work extremely hard to achieve their goals. Some might even try for years before catching a lucky break.
If you want to be a pro gamer as a simple way of making money out of playing video games, you should probably stop thinking about it and focus your efforts elsewhere.
But if you are truly dedicated and wish to make a name for yourself in the scene, then you should definitely start practicing today.