If you are reading our blogs, you are probably either a gamer, a potential gamer, or the parent of a player. It really doesn’t matter what you are because everyone has the same question when beginning their esports career.
How do I get started in esports? You must have a healthy and realistic mindset about your chances of going pro, you need to make the decision on whether to play with a PC or gaming console and lastly decide on which game to play professionally.
These are the same tips and tricks we gave our own parents as they continue to help our sister follow her dream of being a professional gamer. Being a professional gamer does mean you’ll actually play video games but there’s a lot of different components of the industry some people may be unaware of.
Don’t Quit Your Job
So this may seem like an odd opening section of this blog. It’s kind of strange to talk doom and gloom, but you need to have a sense of reality before beginning your professional career.
It’s the same type of reality that convinced me that I would never be a professional American football player.
I played American football all throughout high school and wanted to play in the NFL, but at the end of the day, I had to know that wasn’t where my life was leading.
You’ll need this same reality check when deciding to pursue a career as a professional gamer.
It sounds really fun and glamorous to be paid to play video games for a living. But the likelihood of you achieving that dream is very low.
Very few people who attempt to go pro actually make it! It’s challenging to get into a position where they can support themselves as a professional gamer.
Your chances of going pro are the same as someone playing on an NBA, NFL, or MLB team. The odds are just not in your favor.
I am not saying it’s impossible for you to turn this into a career. All I’m saying is to have a sense of reality when deciding to undertake this challenge.
After doing my research for this blog, I noticed many professional gamers will tell you to stay in school and don’t quit your day job.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are actual scholarships to major univiersites for esports atheletes.
It’s better to have proper time management when you begin your career by balancing gaming time and other activities. This way you can continue to further your education and keep your day job.
It’s actually killing me being this negative about esports.
I want to encourage people to follow their dreams, but you still need to know what you’re getting yourself into.
Now that you have this reality check let’s move on to the more fun and practical aspects of building a career out of professional gaming.
Having the Right Tools
It really doesn’t matter what profession you decide to pursue, you’ll need the right equipment to get the job done.
For me, as a professional writer, I needed a top-shelf laptop, high-speed internet and lots of snacks.
To get started as a professional gamer you will need the proper tools. In the gaming world, the proper tools are either a computer ‘rig’ or gaming console.
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How Expensive is it to Play Esports: Part 1
These are the tools you’ll need to really start taking your career as a professional gamer seriously.
This is a serious decision when you are beginning your esports career. Whether you decide to use a computer or gaming console.
You’ll be making a sizable investment into your career by purchasing either one.
Today’s blog is not about telling you whether to buy a PC or gaming console; this is more about providing general knowledge of what you need to get started.
I personally have heard both positives and negatives about PCs and gaming consoles.
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Here’s some additional links to help you make this decision.
It really all comes down to personal preference and the game you decide to play.
To give yourself the best chance at having a professional esports career you will need to make this investment into a gaming PC or gaming console.
Choosing the Game
Deciding what game to play is an incredibly important decision as you begin to pursue your esports career.
You will need to decide which game you want to play professionally.
It’s incredibly rare for a pro gamer to play more than one game. Players typically choose one game to dedicate themselves to entirely.
Since going pro is such a demanding career you have to be able to dedicate your full attention to one specific game.
It has to be a game you can see yourself playing for hours a day, learning every component, and just enjoy playing.
Being a professional gamer is supposed to be fun; you need to be able to find joy in the game that you decide to play.
Thankfully there is a huge variety of games out there with tournaments for you to compete in.
Obviously, some games lend themselves to having more prestige and larger prize monies.
If you decide to play one of the more famous games, you’ll be going up against a lot of competition.
There are more games out there with specific tournaments, but these are typically the games that are considered the most prestigious.
After looking at the list, I personally would play Call of Duty. What would you choose?
Streaming, Competing, or Both
Let’s recap our process to start your career as a pro gamer. You must have a healthy and realistic mindset about your chances of going pro, you need to make the decision on whether to go with a PC or gaming console and lastly decide on which game to play professionally.
Now there’s really one more decision you’ll need to make regarding your career before we get to the nitty-gritty of actually achieving your dream.
You’ll need to decide whether you want to be a streamer, a competitor, or both.
Going into this blog, I knew the least about being a professional video game streamer. I honestly didn’t even know there was a need or demand for this type of profession.
Being a professional streamer means that you use a combination of YouTube, Twitch, and social media to show yourself playing either one game or multiple games.
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How to Become a Successful Streamer
After creating specific channels and accounts for your brand, you’ll start broadcasting yourself playing a video game.
With the end goal of attracting thousands of viewers watching daily.
Streamers typically broadcast every day and can last many hours. You have to remain consistent in your content and when you upload it.
The best streamers typically have a dedicated following thanks to their dynamic personality. While the audience wants to see a good player at the end of the day, they still want to be entertained.
I’m not saying you have to be a comedian just have a little bit of flair as you stream.
People are making a career out of this in a few different ways. First professional streamers on Twitch get paid every time someone follows their channel.
In addition to getting paid for the number of subscribers on your channel, the best streamers also have deals set up to advertise brands.
Companies are always looking for young and engaging talent to talk about their product. So they’ll sign specific athletes to run ads, competitions, and to talk about why they love their product.
Having these sponsored opportunities is really the golden opportunity for streamers. That’s what they all want.
Competing in Tournaments
If you have more of a competitive drive, you might be more drawn to actually competing in tournaments and being signed to a team.
When most people think of being a professional gamer, this is the avenue they believe their career will take.
Signing up for competitions, winning these competitions, and then joining one of the top esports teams.
If you decide to be a competitor you’ll typically start in your local amateur competitions, then you’ll compete online with the end goal of eventually competing in the big tournaments.
Just like in streaming having sponsorship deals is the key to your success as a competitive pro gamer.
When professional gamers are just beginning their career they often times do a little bit of streaming and competition.
In the beginning, neither one will be enough to support them financially so they’ll rely on both pieces as they build their brand.
Often to be signed to a professional esports team as a competitor it can help to have a dedicated following on Twitch.
If I had to choose which route to go, I would probably lean more towards actually being a competitor. I enjoy traveling, and I’m a very competitive person.
Practice All the Time!
It’s time for the nitty-gritty aspects of actually becoming a professional gamer.
You’ve made all the decisions and done your research let’s actually start playing video games.
It doesn’t matter whether you decide to become a streamer or competitor you have got to practice your chosen video game.
You’ll need to dedicate a large chunk of your time to understand every aspect of the game.
- rules of the game
To turn this into a career, you have to be good at playing video games. You’ll end up spending hours of your day playing and competing.
There’s a lot of different stories and articles about professional gamers spending 12 to 14 hours a day playing video games. Those are all true!
These young men and women are spending every bit of their day trying to become better so they can hopefully win a championship.
With esports being a worldwide phenomenon you are basically competing against everyone to be the best.
There are a lot of people trying to become a professional gamer so you’ll want to give yourself every opportunity you can to get better.
For most of you playing 12 to 14 hours, a day is not a reality. It’s definitely not for my family and me!
The people that can actually play that long are typically signed to contracts already paying them to play.
For everyone else, we have to rely on proper scheduling and time management to make sure we can accomplish all we want.
How Should I Practice?
A couple of the easiest ways to practice is to play the game. You can set up most games to play against the computer so you’ll never be short of competition.
Playing against the computer is also a great way to test new skills and techniques before using them in matches or online.
Playing against your friends and family can also be beneficial. It kind of depends on who your friends are and if they are any good at gaming.
Your best bet when practicing is to compete online.
Not necessarily in online tournaments but in casual matches against players all over the world.
This can be helpful in many different ways. First, it’ll give you an opportunity to really test your skills as a professional gamer.
Even though you can beat everyone you know, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to win in real life tournaments.
Treat every match online very seriously, so you’re not only improving your skills but also your ranking.
The second way online gaming is healthful is improving your ranking on the worldwide ranking system. Not every game comes with one of these systems, but most of them do.
You’ll want to aim for placing in the top 200 of whatever game you have chosen. These are the players that professional esports teams are watching.
Beyond merely playing a video game you can also practice offline.
Meaning you can read the rule books, look up guides from other professionals, or watch their streaming channels to pick up other tricks and tips.
As a professional gamer, you always need to be humble and know that there’s going to be another trick you can learn.
You can also practice different gaming techniques on your PC or gaming console controller without the game even being turned on.
By simulating different movements, you’re building muscle memory that can help you be a better competitor in competitions.
If you want to take your pro gaming career seriously, you cannot undersell yourself on training and practice.
In the immortal words of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, “With drive and a bit of talent you can move mountains.”
Competing and Networking
The only way you’ll ever become a professional gamer is by competing in tournaments.
There’s a variety of tournaments for every type of video game all over the world.
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Major League Gaming’s event page for a list of their tournaments.
When looking at esports tournaments, there’s some that are only online and some in person.
The common thought is to start with online tournaments first. They are typically cheaper to enter, and you can do the whole thing from the comfort of your own home.
If you lose an online tournament, you don’t have to stay and shake hands with the winner. Just turn off your system or computer.
While these are obviously good advantages to only using online tournaments if you want to create an esports career, you need to compete live and in person.
Tournaments in person hold much more prestige and are typically where esports teams go to scout future players.
Esports teams want to see the best gamers compete in front of large audiences with the pressure of everyone watching them play.
It’s not easy playing in front of crowds of hundreds or thousands all watching you. It takes a lot of strong will power not to be distracted by the noise.
The other difficulty when competing in person is having to face the crowd and competition if you lose. If you lose, you’ll need to maintain your composure and not storm off like a sore loser.
You’ll want other gamers to be your friend and support you. So you can’t show yourself as being ungrateful.
Just shake hands if you lose and chalk it up to more experience. Try to stick around at the tournament and have casual matches against other players for the additional practice.
Win it All
At the end of the day though you are going to these tournaments to win and win big!
To get the attention of the major esports teams, they want to see winners, and they want to see the winners of the major tournaments.
You’ll not only benefit from the salaries and bonuses that they offer, but you also get prize money from any winnings.
At these tournaments, it’s also good to do a little networking.
For those of you that may not know what that means networking is simply introducing yourself your brand and explaining why you are there.
You have to use a little bit of charm and show scouts why you’re worth their time.
Esports is like any other business; it really does come down to who you know.
This was a component of esports that I wasn’t aware of before writing this blog. In my previous employment, I had to do a lot of networking and never thought that professional gamers would need to do the same.
In addition to using networking to grow your personal brand try using networking to make your esports team stronger.
Often when fellow competitors are at these tournaments, they are looking for new opportunities to join other teams.
For games like League of Legends and CS:GO having a strong team can be the difference between winning and losing a tournament.
Schedule time while at these events to meet other gamers and build a stronger team.
Use the opportunity to make friends and further your career.
Esports tournaments are also a lot of fun with a variety of activities and an electric environment.
What’s the length of a professional gamer’s career? On average, most professional video game players retire at 25. After that many gamers stay in the industry but in different roles. Many retired gamers become game developers, marketing professionals, or operation managers for different esports leagues.