As the global eSports industry continues to expand and the prize money continues to grow, it is starting to become popular for an avid eSports gamer to make it a viable career option and play eSports for a living.
To become a professional gamer requires hours of dedicated practice just like it is required in any other sport. A player who wants to turn professional and make a living playing eSports must have a love for the game as only then will they be committed to putting in such long hours which are critical to become a pro eSports gamer.
There are many factors to be considered before deciding to choose a career as an eSports gamer as there are a number of pros and cons associated with becoming an eSports professional gamer. We take a look at some of the main pros and cons of becoming an eSports professional gamer and leave you to decide if you want to consider becoming a full time eSports professional gamer.
Pros of Becoming an eSports Professional Gamer
Prize Money: The growth of the eSports industry has brought in a lot of revenue through sponsorships, advertising and streaming opportunities which has helped eSports tournaments to offer more prize money to players. eSport gamers now have the opportunity to make a living from eSports games and the top players make more than 6 figures in USD on an annual basis easily.
Lim “Boxer” Yo Hwan started gaming professionally when eSports were still evolving in the first half of 2000’s.
He is regarded as the best Starcraft: Brood Wars player.
His annual income exceeded $300,000 annually during the early 2000’s. Compared to his earnings back then, the prize money awarded in mid 2010’s has jumped exponentially. Dota 2 tournaments are paying out more than a million dollars in individual prizes to winners.
eSports players also have multiple ways of making revenue. They no longer need to depend on winning an eSports tournament to take home a pay-check as they now have the opportunity to earn money by streaming their games. There is a huge eSports audience watching players play on video streaming platforms like Twitch.tv. However the money earned from streaming depends on the amount of followers and viewers watching a channel. So famous eSports players end up making a lot more money and their annual revenue from eSports streaming viewership can be over a million.
Popular eSports teams and gamers also make money by developing and selling merchandise. Their fans are eager to buy merchandise such as shirts, caps and posters. Most of the top eSports gamers develop their own merchandise and user their social media accounts to market their merchandise to their wide base of fans who are more than happy to buy from their favourite eSports players.
While it is easy for the top eSports players to make hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions from eSports gamers, the lesser known players find it difficult to make a consistent living playing eSports games as the market is getting more competitive by the day.
Decision Making Skills: Most of the major eSports today are extremely complex and fast paced. A study was conducted in which 50 players played the game Sims 2 and 50 players played the game Call of Duty. It was found that players who played the fast paced Call of Duty game made decisions 25% faster than those who played Sims 2. Another study found that playing strategic and role playing video games helped teens and young people make better decisions, improved their problem solving abilities and increased their academic grades.
Social Interaction: Contrary to popular stereotype that people who play video games live in isolation, a study has found that gamers are more social than non gamers and are also more adept at multi-tasking. Video games can be a great way to improve your social life. You are either playing games with your friends at home or you are playing games online with players. eSports has turned into a global phenomenon and allows gamers to compete with players from all over the world. Professional gaming is a great way to meet, converse and build friendship with people from all over the world and to learn about various cultures and backgrounds. There are a number of professional eSports teams that comprise of members from around the world.
Another great way to meet more like minded people is when players set up a Local Area Network (LAN) before a tournament. LAN brings together players, living locally and participating in the same tournament to compete and become better before the tournament. In a sense they are simulating the actual tournament in a local setting and lots of long term friendships are formed during such interactions.
Global Fame: With so many viewers watching the games and tournaments, there are numerous sponsors lining up to sign eSports gamers and offer financial sponsorship that allows one to earn a living and live a comfortable life. When a sponsor signs an eSports gamer, they also take on the responsibility of promoting that player and giving them numerous opportunities and a platform to gain global fame.
One of the best Call of Duty players, Mason Cobb experienced fame at a young age and had the opportunity to travel extensively, meet famous people and see his face plastered on billboards and packages.
The more well known and famous an eSports gamer becomes, the easier it becomes for him or her to make a living.
Global Travel: eSports tournaments are being held all over the world and professional gamers have the opportunity to visit different countries when they participate in these tournaments. Premier Dota 2 tournaments are held in countries like China, Germany, Philippines and the US. League of Legends tournaments are held in countries like Singapore, Brazil, China and America. Apart from tournaments there are many gaming festivals that take place, such as the Dreamhack festival which takes place in Sweden. In such festivals, tournaments of various games are held along with live concerts, expos and digital arts competitions. Thus becoming a professional eGamer is a great way to travel the world.
Improved Hand Eye Coordination: Research has indicated that gaming improves hand eye coordination. Studies have shown that a gamer has better hand eye coordination over a non-gamer when both are put in unfamiliar situations. eSports gamers are reported to be able to grasp and respond faster in such situations as well. Such improved hand eye coordination can benefit a gamer in numerous situations and also be life changing as in averting an accident while driving a car.
Investment Of Time: It is no secret that professional gamers spend considerable amounts of time practising and honing their skills, learning new ways to strategize with their teammates. A typical eSports player gets up late in the morning and starts a session around noon which could be streaming eSports lessons with their viewers on popular streaming platforms or practising by themselves. This usually winds up around 4 pm after which they start playing eGames till midnight. They grab a quick bite and get back to live streams till early in the morning before they call it a night. The intense training schedules can cause neglect of close family and friends.
Some games can be single player games, and spending long hours practising and playing these games can lead to social isolation. Another issue that professional gamers face is the short career span in eSports. Professional players perform at their peak till their mid to late 20’s and this age factor also weighs down upon them, which makes them work even harder. It has been noticed that older players, even though they have the experience, have slower reflexes and decision making abilities.
Battling Health Issues: Sitting for too long can lead to a host of health issues, including eye problems and back problems. Practicing continuously also limits a player’s outdoor activities which can make the player obese due to a lack of movement and exercise. The constant stress on gamers’ thumbs and wrists can lead to strain injuries to the muscles and the nerves in both hands. There are other health issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbows caused by extensive gaming. Carpal tunnel syndrome puts pressure on the wrist and the median resulting in numbness and severe pain. nerve in the wrist causing pain and numbness while a tennis elbow will cause the elbow to become extremely sensitive and sore. Gamers also battle trigger fingers which give cause a permanent bent shape to fingers. This is one injury that is becoming increasingly common amongst gamers.
Another serious issue is the rampant use of energy drinks which contain stimulants like caffeine and sugar, which gamers consume regularly to remain alert. Taking excessive amounts of such drinks can cause a host of diseases including high sugar and game time jitteriness. Gamers should exercise regularly and maintain a healthy balance between gaming and spending time with family and loved ones to ensure that they do not get trapped into the a stressed filled life