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How Expensive is it to Play Esports: Part 1

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It doesn’t matter what hobby or sport your child decides to pursue one of the first questions every parent asks is, “How much is this going to cost me?” Deciding on a career in esports is no different.

How expensive is it to play esports? Starting an esports career using a PC will cost you between $600 to $3000. Beginning a career using a console (Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo) will cost you between $550 to $1250. Either direction will come with additional expenses.

To adequately provide an answer we are going to dedicate 2-posts to answer this question. This first post will cover all the equipment needed to begin a professional gaming career.

Setting up the “Rig”

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Computers have come so far in the last few years; they look nothing like the old family desktop my brother, and I had to share.

To participate in esports, you need to decide whether you’ll be playing games that use a PC or video game console.

There are some crossovers games, but most professional gamers decide early on whether they want to dedicate their career to a PC or console.

Let’s first talk about a gaming PC and what the associated costs may look like.

DID YOU KNOW?
Gamers refer to their computers and all its equipment as a ‘Rig’.

As you probably noticed there is a lot of slang in esports.

The Price of a PC

There’s a couple of different components needed to set up a proper rig. For starters, there’s the PC itself.

Full disclosure; I’m more of a console gamer. I had to learn the terminology and pieces needed to have an awesome rig.

The PC is going to be the most critical and expensive equipment you purchase.

statistic id268367 pc gaming hardware industry revenue worldwide 2012 2017
Courtesy of Statista

We’re not going to get into the delicate details of which PC is better, the components of a PC, or even a recommendation.

There’s a lot of brilliant companies and writers out there that have dedicated their time to provide you with this information.

CHECK IT OUT
These links provide great information about which gaming PC might be right for you.

While there are ways to save money on other gaming accessories; having a top-notch PC is going to set you apart from the competition.

Most gaming PCs range from $600 to $2,000.

Yes, that’s a lot of money to spend on a computer, and that doesn’t even get you all the tools needed.

Top-notch computers give gamers an advantage in processing speed and graphics.

Esports games are so in-depth they require computers that are smarter and faster than ever before, which has contributed to the overall cost of the PC.

I’m not going to tell you to spend that much money, but from what I understand to be the best sometimes you have to spend money like the best.

Gaming Chair

One of the biggest controversies with esports is the amount of time these athletes spend sitting.

It’s just part of the sport. Professional gamers spend a lot of time sitting.

Thankfully, the esports industry has made incredible advancements in chair design for their athletes to be healthier while they sit.

I really enjoyed researching these gaming chairs. And got very jealous as I sit here writing in my old beaten-up swivel office chair…it may be time to stand for a bit 🙂

Gaming chairs obviously are not cheap and might be considered a luxury for some gamers as they begin their careers. But they are highly recommended to help improve a gamer’s overall health.

Hang on because I’m about to go in-depth…on chairs.

There are technically three types of gaming chairs.

  • Office Chair – As the name implies, office chairs are used in a work or office setting, but this doesn’t mean that corporations are the only places they’re found. Given the ubiquity of computers, almost everyone who has a PC in their home has an office or computer chair sitting in front of it.
  • Racing Chair – The racing (or PC) gaming chair as some similarities to the office chair. You’ll also note some key differences, beginning with the fact the PC chair has a bucket style seat and extra cushioning. This is basically ergonomic office chair.
  • Rocker Chair – The rocker (or platform) gaming chair is a different animal altogether. Most commonly, they have the general appearance of a recliner but are usually set on the floor.

All three designs have their strengths and weaknesses. You can make the decision on which one to purchase based on preference and price.

What sets these chairs apart from your typical office chair is they have been explicitly designed for marathon gaming.

Gaming chairs offer extra support for your back, your shoulders, your neck, your hips, your arms, and your legs. They are designed to improve posture as much as possible.

Some professional gamers have complained of medical issues caused by having poor posture. This can be corrected with the proper chair.

statistic id935353 us adults who visited a health care professional for neck or back pain in 2018
Courtesy of Statista

One of the unique design elements of a gaming chair is they have tapered edges for your legs. This tapered edge is designed to help with proper circulation.

The creators of these chairs know gamers need proper blood circulation and support for their muscles.

Thank you for sitting through my nerd-out about gaming chairs.

Here’s the information you were looking for…gaming chairs range in price from $50 to $1,400.

Mouse, Keyboard, and Screen

There are three more components that you’ll need to purchase to complete your or your rig.

The first two really go hand-in-hand; which is a mouse and keyboard.

You don’t necessarily want to go cheap on either one of these components because they could affect your gaming performance.

Esports tournaments and matches are determined by microsecond decisions and quick reflexes. Making it essential to get a mouse and keyboard that respond quickly.

A professional gaming mouse can range from $70 to $120 while a gaming keyboard is around $45 to $160.

The last piece of the rig you’ll need to purchase is a screen. Some PCs come with a screen, if not you’ll want to make a decent investment into one.

Just like a mouse and keyboard can make a difference in a match; so can a solid screen. You’ll want a crystal clear display that can handle the intense graphics.

You don’t want any lag, blurry spots, or be unable to see what’s happening because you didn’t invest in a proper screen.

An esports screen can range from $190 to $1,700.

An esports rig really isn’t that much more expensive than other hobbies like golf.

Console Gaming

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If you’ve been reading our other blogs I’m sure you’ve heard me mention our old Nintendo 64 and Xbox.

My brother and I were always more drawn to console gaming because of the ease they allowed to for multiplayer games.

As you will quickly notice the price to get yourself into an esports career using a video game console is significantly cheaper than PC gaming.

Please be aware, more money and notoriety can come from being a professional PC gamer.

PC tournaments are larger and the most popular game in the world, League of Legends, is only available for PC.

When you’re looking at purchasing a video game console you will have 2 choices.

You will either play on an Xbox or PlayStation.

Xbox

Deciding which console to purchase might be incredibly difficult and has been known to cause intense debates.

I’m not going to tell you which console to purchase.

I can tell you I have more experience with an Xbox, but I would never tell you not to get a PlayStation.

statistic id531063 number of xbox live mau q1 2016 q2 2019
Courtesy of Statista

Whichever esports game you want to play will help you decide on a console.

On an Xbox, the most popular esports console games are Halo, Gears of War, and the racing game Forza.

PlayStation

PlayStation doesn’t have an exclusive esports game that can only be played on their system. Instead, their most popular games include Call of Duty, Madden, and FIFA. All of which can be played on an Xbox.

DID YOU KNOW?
Over 91.6 million Playstation 4 units have been sold.

PlayStation is outpacing Xbox in total units sold if that helps you make any sort of decision.

Pricing

The price point for either console is the same.

Xbox retails for $500 and a PlayStation is $550.

There are 2 more additional accessories you’ll need for console gaming. First is a controller.

Similar to how a gaming keyboard and mouse can make a big difference for competitive gamers; a pro-style controller will be needed for professional players.

There are controllers designed to help esports athletes have better reflexes and quicker response times.

  • Pro-style Xbox controllers can range from $150 to $200.
  • PlayStation controllers can be from $70 to $125.

To compete in esports using a console; you will need to enable online play. Neither the Xbox or the PlayStation comes with free online gaming.

Having online gaming allows competitors from all over the world to play against each other. They are playing to rank higher on leaderboards and can also compete in online tournaments.

Both Xbox Gold Live and PlayStation Network are $50 a year annually.

I did previously mention a rocker chair for console gamers. It doesn’t seem to be as necessary as gaming chairs for PC players.

Console gamers can move around a room or stand up thanks to wireless controllers.

Part 2 will discuss how much it costs to purchase esports games and the fees to enter tournaments.

CHECK IT OUT
How Expensive is it to Play Esports: Part 2

Related Questions

What if I want to play Nintendo Switch? Nintendo is trying to establish themselves as an esports heavyweight. They’re establishing leagues for Super Smash Brothers and Splatoon 2. While there are amateur tournaments for these games, there isn’t anything on the pro level just yet. I’m sure it will be coming soon.

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