What Does It Take to Become a Professional Gamer?
Gaming is one of the most beloved and evergreen entertainment indulgences of the masses that makes them all wish life was as simple as annihilating your friends in a round of FIFA or Tekken. However, their naïve perception about gaming as a career is far removed from how the world of pro gaming actually turns. Natural talent as an essential requisite is more of an exaggeration that gamers that belong to the ‘big fish in a small pond’ category like you to believe, because professional gamers need to constantly be on their toes practicing and mastering new tricks to weed out the intense competition that is constantly breathing down their neck. This is why part-time professional gamers often lose track of their competitors and get dethroned rather hastily.
Although professional gaming is one of the more unstable careers to consider, it is also one of the most rewarding dream careers for one to pursue. Gaming as emerged as a multi-billion dollar industry that is still in its power growth stage and seems to defy all the economic market stagnation sentiments.
This golden age of gaming is also complemented by omnipresent connectivity that enables gamers to establish their brand better and discover more streams of revenue apart from their tournament winnings. Depending on the popularity of the games they play, top pro gamers can rake in anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 annually.
The old adage that says, “Practice makes perfect” is just as relevant in the world of pro gaming since the competitors that rub shoulders with you train for months and master all there is to know about the game rather than bank on their improv skills for the big day. For instance, a pro Starcraft player’s regime involves nearly four hours of daily gameplay that entails memorizing unit stats, picking up new strategies and their counters, and going through game replays of fellow competitors to assess your performance in a more holistic way.
For those of you wondering how much you can make by putting your gaming skills to the test when the stakes are high, here are two key questions you need to address in order to determine the moolah you may behold:
How skilled are you?
The more polished your individual and team gaming skills are, the stronger your chances of dominating major tournaments and negotiating financially attractive team contracts.
How adept are you at marketing yourself?
Streaming gameplay is one of the biggest sources of revenue for modern gamers today as they have the potential to rake in a ton of ad revenue thanks to their extensive fanbase tuning into their streams religiously to witness their skills live. Twitch.tv is the most popular streaming website for gaming enthusiasts.
Maintaining a vibrant YouTube channel packed with brief highlights and montages showcasing your gaming experience can also add to your revenue stream via the YouTube partnership feature.
In case you have managed to achieve breakthrough popularity, you can further capitalize on your brand value through merchandising and earn thousands of dollars by selling customized T-shirts and posters.
A professional gamer aware of his true potential recognizes that he isn’t just a lucky kid with a snappy trigger finger, but an entrepreneur that hold the power of their future solely in their hands. Let us take an in-depth look at the challenges every pro gamer must face before becoming a six figure money making machine:
Choosing the Right Team
Team-based tournaments are the biggest attractions of leading PC gaming tournaments like DreamHack, MLG and WCG. Positioning yourself in a well-balanced team of diversely skilled gamers can help make up for your shortcomings and vice versa. Having a team by your side can make up for some of your shortcomings, and allow you to contribute differently.
In Call of Duty tournaments for example, a good sniper can play a huge role in tipping the odds in your favor for certain maps; whereas, a player skilled with heavy weapons can be of great use in other maps. It’s all about putting together a team of players operating on the same wavelength of skill, but still have their own specialties to bring to the table.
Solidify your Credentials
Playing a couple of pro or semi-pro tournaments isn’t enough to make you the apple of the eye of the gaming world, and you need to explore other avenues to grow your reputation. Regularly participating in tournament gaming forums and community discussions with fellow gamers can earn you plenty of fans who will actively help you network with more influential gamers.
Apart from gaming finesse, networking is one of the most important skills in the arsenal of a successful gamer. Users like Athene and Pewdiepie have established a cult following by using it to the maximum. Do not be afraid to promote yourself through YouTube and Facebook to share your finest gameplay moments with the rest of the world.
Capitalize On Your Reputation
Sponsorship is perhaps the largest contributor to the yearly earnings of pro gamers since gaming tournaments and livestreams provide their brands a massive amount of airtime. Tournament winnings are rather inconsistent, but sponsorship income is solid and keeps you financially afloat even when your performance has slipped up a little.
Even if you start a simple official fan website to post training routines and tournament results, or conduct fan contests, you can earn through ads placed on your page.
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