Have you ever wanted to play video games for a living? Becoming a pro gamer is not as easy as you think.
Do you think you are the king of Call of Duty, the Counter Strike champion, or the Halo master? It’s easy to talk a big game (something which I am particularly good at), but I always prefer to back it up with action, skill, and crushing victory. While playing with friends it’s not too difficult to defeat the competition (of only 3 or 4 people) and build that feeling of supremacy. With success comes arrogance, however.
It’s even crossed my mind; “Wow, maybe I should go pro.” I’ve won a few Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournaments, and consider myself pretty good at Black Ops. While only said jokingly, at the time I wondered what it would take to get myself to the pro gamer level. After meeting a few pro gamers, and seeing how much work is involved, I confirmed that pro gaming is not for me.
Let’s be clear, becoming a pro gamer is not something that just happens. It requires tons of time, money, and more time. Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong, who are considered to be the best Street Fighter players in the world, didn’t just wake up one day and decide to go to tournaments. Both have been known for playing, no - training – 40 or more hours per week.
Even if you enjoy a game, it’s hard to imagine playing it day after day for hours at a time. Any joy that a particular game brought in the past would likely be replaced by boredom and hatred. Not to mention, most professional gamers train for months at a time specifically for one tournament. Now imagine sinking all that time into training, and coming home defeated. It’s definitely a lot of risk for a small chance of sizable reward.
If it’s a contract you’re seeking, it’ll generally take years of work to get noticed by the major Gaming Managers, which requires you first to make it into the nationals for the Championship Gaming Series. Similar to a sport, big companies draft talent at major tournaments and events in which participants often play for a contracts ranging from $30,000-$100,000 (after endorsements).
For those non-contract seeking gamers, prize money for most tournaments can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The real money and fame, if you’re into the unspoken perks, comes from first entering the major competitions and making it to nationals, then delving into the international bracket. The compensation increases as entrants rise up the ladder, and can be very respectable.
Becoming a pro gamer is by no means an easy task. Maybe even more difficult is deciding whether this lifestyle is right for you, and preparing to make the transition from recreational player to hardcore competitor. The long hours, constant travel, nights in hotels, and threat of rejection are all powerful deterrents to wannabe professionals. Though I personally couldn’t imagine becoming a pro gamer, I respect those that are able to compete and be successful. If you’re interested in becoming a pro gamer yourself, check out these helpful tips from Major League Gaming.
Did you know gaming leagues have referees?