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Not everyone is cut out to make it to the top ranks of a profession and that’s the same with e-games. Sadly, being a pro gamer and earning stacks of cash from it is largely still frowned upon. Having said that, the acceptance is on the rise. Getting paid to play video games might sound like the cushiest job in the world but there’s a lot more that goes in to becoming a pro gamer than meets the eye. It takes a lot more to make a sustainable career in video games.

The obstacles to becoming a pro gamer are as numerous and complex outside the game as they are inside it. First off, it may not be easy to convince your parents and get their respect for wanting to become a professional gamer. The fact that most of the money from gaming goes to the very best only makes it tougher. Also, when you fail, your fans will mostly not understand why.

However, there are increasingly more people entering the field – pun intended – raising the bar higher. Games are now generating enough moolah to sustain international leagues and multimillion-dollar competitions. The biggest brands across the world are now cashing in on the industry including Nike, Adidas and Puma along with some not so obvious luxury names like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

What defines a Professional Gamer?

A professional gamer is a full-time competitive player who gets paid to play video games. Much like any other sport, it’s making a career in the gaming filed. To compete in e-sports competitions around the world, most e-athletes are paid by their respective teams and/or sponsors. The tournaments pay big cash rewards to winners and seasoned gamers can make a sizeable income.

Requirements to be a pro gamer

In addition to the thousands of hours of gaming experience, motivation is one of the most important skills a professional e-gamer should have. Your ability to motivate yourself affects your short and long term success.

You need to be excited despite playing the same games over and over again while practicing. Build motivation by having a strong reason for why you want to be a pro gamer in the first place. You win some, you lose some and on days that you may not be feeling well is when it’s most important to push yourself with motivation and come back stronger.

Being able to make quick decisions is the cornerstone of a good gamer – professional or not. Quick thinking is a skill that needs to be developed with practice as you’re always running against the clock and need to have split-second decisions to make.

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Stay focused on your immediate goals in gaming and cut out anything that may be a distraction when practicing and playing. The industry is harsh so it is important to be mentally strong and to maintain focus. Confidence goes a long way and is evident the in players of today. It shows in every decision and move they make when playing.

Good hand-eye co-ordination is the basis of a good gamer, thus physical training for dexterity is important. In addition, overall personal development  – physical and emotional – is required to maintain a position in the top echelons of the gaming community.

How to become a pro gamer

In order to become a pro gamer, first and foremost you’ll need to pick a specific game to play. First off, consider a game you’re good at and what you enjoy. It’ll be easier to start off and you’ll be less likely to get bored of it.

Secondly, decide clearly if you want to become a competitive gamer or a professional streamer. While the former brings opportunities to earn loads of money and travel the world with your team, it also gives you a slim chance of doing so. As mentioned earlier, only the very best get prize money from competitions and competition is tough. On the flip side, being a streamer means you could still make a lot of money from full-time streaming on platforms like Youtube, Twitch.tv and Mixer.tv.

Either way, the one thing you need to do is practice, practice and then practice some more. As a competitive gamer, vying for the top spot, you’ll be battling against the best in the world. Thus, you need to keep your skill level at its best.

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A good way to go about this is to watch other players. Several pro gamers have Twitch.tv streams as per contracts with their teams. You could watch and learn from these world-class players, pick up tips and new tricks as per your game requirement.

Alongside building reputation as a serious competitor, attract an audience and look for a team. It’s important to play alongside others that are as good or better than yourself. Their varied skillsets will add a lot of value to your own game. Start networking, build relationships, use websites like Teamfind to communicate with other players. The better you get, the easier it gets to to be scouted by teams and sponsors.

One of the best things to do is attend local gaming competitions. Playing at these events, face to face with an opponent in front of an audience is an experience you will need to get used to. In addition, there are competition structures and rules to learn and adhere to.

Build yourself up like a pro

Being a pro gamer does take years of practice, focus and hard work. In addition to the grind, it’s important to include social skills, learning more about your game, researching strategies and approaches, getting positive sources of motivation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle – food, exercise and sleep.

Read and watch interviews of other e-sports stars. More than just game-related information, it’ll help in getting tips for exercise, schedules, mindset, etc. Stay disciplined with these things if you want to go far and avoid a burn out or health complications.

Being that gamers have made jobs of the hobbies, it could get more difficult to balance work and social life and other relaxing activities. A pro gamer’s life is not as laid back and easygoing as one might imagine. The stereotypical image of some scruffy guy curled up in a hoodie with a bowl of cereal on the sofa is far from the truth.

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The glam and luxuries of professional gaming

All things considered – prize money, salaries, bonuses, sponsorships, streaming revenues and the like – a professional gamer can take home a cheque of about $60,000 – $80,000 a year and live a fairly luxurious life.

Upon signing with a team, each player receives a healthy cheque as signing bonus. They are also provided with medical facilities and physical trainers for exercising.

Usually a professional team will have everyone living in a mansion all together. Each player would have their own room and the place would be fully serviced with cleaners and chefs so that they have only to concentrate on practicing their games.

The objective is to keep them healthy and able to perform at their level best and treat the e-players like athletes themselves. Thus no cost spared to condition their minds and bodies.

Living and training together means the players get to bond more deeply. It also optimises the quantity and quality of practice with all the members living under one roof.

In addition to all this, professional gamers are also pampered by their sponsors. They have endless supplies of products in their luxurious mansions. It is normal to see mounds of energy drinks and other accessories stacked up for them.

Fueled majorly by youngsters between 18 and 34, the world of e-sports is projected to touch an audience of 500 million people by 2021. Gaming is no longer a niche pastime, it is now inching ever more into the mainstream.

Leading e-sports organisation, Fnatic was invited to front row of Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2020 mens show – becoming the first gamers to attend the Milan Fashion Week. They’re also the first gamers to have designed their own Gucci watch, called ‘Gucci Dive’.

Fnnatic Gucci Collaboration

Courtesy: Daily Esports

In 2017, Adidas had collaborated with Team Vitality for a partnership for sneakers. Last year the sports giant added Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, the 29-year-old American Fortnite player alongside names like Beyonce, Kanye West, Kylie and Kendall Jenner as famous ambassadors. Reportedly, his specially designed sneakers, called Nite Jogger, sold out in under an hour.

ninja adidas collaboration

Courtesy: The Verge

Nike inked a four-year sponsorship with China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in 2019. The deal included designing footwear and outfits for all five competing teams. Puma did something similar with a California-based gaming team.

It was a pleasant surprise when Louis Vuitton created a Trophy Travel Case for the League of Legends world championship. The brand also created an in-game collection.

louis vuitton league of legends collaboration

Courtesy: InvenGlobal

In conclusion, you should know that only a few top pro players earn thousands of dollars a year from gaming. Simply because the industry favours winners, like any other industry. You need to put in the work, stay motivated, keep focus and make it to the top in order to get all the glitz and glam. Again, this is true for any industry you may think of entering. Train hard, build skills and once you get drafted into a team all the financial rewards will come your way eventually. Just make sure that you’re seen, heard and known in the right circles of aspiring professional gamers for recruiters to take notice.

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