Have you ever wanted to become a professional gamer?
It’s a dream for many people who love playing video games. But what does it take to be a professional gamer?
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about becoming a professional gamer.
This includes what a professional gamer is, the benefits of becoming one, what you need to become a professional gamer, how you can make a career in gaming- and more!
What Is A Professional Gamer?
A professional gamer is somebody who gets paid money to play games.
But, you already knew that!
To go a little further into detail: Professional gamers are highly skilled at their game of choice- and also often at entertaining an audience.
Some of the most famous professional gamers in recent years include Ninja, Crimsix, and XiaoWeiXiao.
Some of the most popular video game streamers can also be classed as professional gamers, including many Minecraft speedrunners, slightly less elite first-person-shooter players, and so on.
Professional gamers are spread across a variety of games and game genres, so you’re almost certain to find something you like!
The classic image of a professional gamer is someone who is the member of a professional eSports team, and plays a first-person-shooter such as Overwatch, CS:GO, or Valorant.
However, there are also professional gamers who play third-person games such as League of Legends (a huge contributor to the professional gaming industry)- and even some who play Tetris!
What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Professional Gamer?
Being a professional gamer can be a hugely exciting and fulfilling career. As a professional gamer, you are playing the game that you love in front of (potentially) millions of people.
The thing that draws many people to the profession initially is that they get paid to do what they already love.
In fact, most of the time the switch from casual to professional gaming- while mentally demanding- isn’t that much of a difference!
You’ll train more intensely on your chosen game and have additional pressure from match conditions (such as audiences or prize money), but at the end of the day all you’re doing is playing the same game you were before.
This is another draw for many when considering professional gaming, as it doesn’t require picking up an entirely new skillset.
However, perhaps the most long-lasting factor that draws people to professional gaming is fame.
Several professional gamers have appeared on mainstream media, such as Ninja, JackSepticEye, and more.
Plus, within the gaming world, if you get good enough your fellow players in your game of choice will begin to recognize and appreciate you.
And of course: Don’t forget the audience!
No matter which route of professional gaming you choose, you’ll be playing or performing in front of an adoring (or jeering) crowd.
What Do You Need To Become A Professional Gamer?
First of all, here’s the obvious answer: You need to be very good at your chosen game.
Most professional gamers log thousands of hours in their chosen game during practice, simulations of matches, and actual competition games.
Many have also started their forays into professional gaming with an exceptionally high level of skill.
You’ll also likely need some pretty good hardware to use while you’re starting out, so that you can practice and hone your skills efficiently. A good PC or console is indispensable to a professional gamer.
Other than that, one of the great things about being a professional gamer is that you need very little additional equipment.
It can also help to have a good audience-facing personality, so the ability to entertain a crowd by performing is a useful thing to have and/or develop.
How Can You Make A Career In Gaming?
There are three main groups of gaming careers that most professional gamers fall into.
The first is being a member of an eSports team. This is the stereotypical image of a professional gamer- someone who plays first-person-shooter games in a team against similar high-level teams.
Esports teams perform in front of thousands, and often even do so in front of in-person audiences (not just through a screen).
The second is being a competition player individually. There are often competitions hosted for a number of games by various people, for anybody to join.
Some professional gamers focus on honing their individual skills and competing in these competitions by themselves, or with randomly assigned teammates.
A good example of this situation would be the Minecraft Monday tournaments, or their successor Minecraft Championship.
The third is being a video game streamer. Several people who fall into the first two categories also fall into this category, as many stream their training and practice process.
Video game streaming is a much more entertainment-focused career than the other two, as you need to have a good relationship with your audience to keep them around and watching your streams.
What Are Some Jobs In The Video Game Industry?
Although professional gaming is perhaps the most visible video game industry job, there are also other ways you can turn your passion for video games into a viable career.
If you’re incredibly enthusiastic about games, you likely know a lot about what makes them tick.
Particularly if you’re interested in story-based games, you’ll understand some of the elements that make them good or bad.
Knowing lots about what makes a video game good or bad can set you up for a career as a video game designer, working to create new games or improve existing ones.
If you pick up some programming skills as well, you can work on the game itself rather than just narrative or art design.
Perhaps closer to the mark of a traditional professional gamer, you can also be a video game tester- playing games over and over to make sure as many bugs as possible are fixed.
What Are Some Tips For Becoming A Professional Gamer?
Here are a few helpful tips if you’re looking to become a professional gamer:
- Research your game and what the professional or competitive gaming scene is like before investing a lot of time into it. There’s nothing worse than putting a lot of time and effort into something- only to find that there’s no path ahead!
- Develop a high level of skill in your desired game first, particularly if you want to go down the eSports team or competition route
- Invest in quality hardware from the outset, so that you can run your games smoothly.
How Can You Make Money As A Professional Gamer?
Most video game competitions at a professional level offer large prize pools, which are split between the winning team or given to the individual winner.
However, this is an intermittent source of income. Many people on eSports teams are paid to train and play regardless of whether or not they win.
Additionally, streaming affords a slightly more regular source of income, particularly if you gather a large audience.
What Are Some Of The Risks Of Becoming A Professional Gamer?
Playing video games professionally can have its downsides.
Your game could fall out of popularity, or stop being updated or supported- meaning that your skills are now no longer as useful. If your game is niche, you might need to completely retrain!
Becoming a professional gamer is quite tricky, and often involves a large time investment for very little gain.
It’s possible that you might not ever quite make it enough to have a steady stream of income.
Repeated stress injury (RSI) and carpal tunnel are both injuries that professional gamers have to deal with due to their large amounts of practice.
Finally, if you ever want to move into another profession, it may be difficult to show work experience if you are only able to list professional gaming on your CV!
Is It Worth It To Become A Professional Gamer?
Ultimately, only you can decide this question. Professional gamers can achieve fame, enjoyment, and income in their careers that many other careers struggle to approach.
However, there’s no denying that professional gaming is also a high-risk industry to be in, and you might suddenly find yourself out of the profession with very little notice.
There are many ways to become a professional gamer- as well as various risks and benefits, that we’ve described above.
The good news is, it’s easy to try out!
Look for some open competitions, start streaming when you have free time, and see where it takes you.
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