How To Become A Professional Gamer
If you’re someone who has gaming on their mind 24/7, you’ve probably considered going pro at some point in your life. After all, what’s better than getting paid to do the thing you love most in the world?
While the odds of becoming a professional gamer were about 1 in 10,000 more than five years ago, there’s more money than ever in the industry today. Current esports players are able to make more than $2 million for winning an international tournament, and many of them also earn steady salaries while competing for corporate-sponsored teams. Last year, competitive esports revenue was around $1.1 billion, which was an almost 27 percent increase from 2018. The entire industry is expected to be worth $3 billion by 2022.
For those of you who think that you may have the talent and drive to become a pro gamer, or are even just interested in learning more about what’s involved, we’ll take you through the necessary steps to becoming a professional gamer.
1. DECIDE IF YOU REALLY WANT TO COMMIT TO BECOMING A PRO GAMER
As mentioned previously, the odds of becoming a professional gamer aren’t in your favor. So, it’s important that you really love gaming and have fun doing it, even if you don’t make any money from it.
“As with anything in life, it’s important to play esports for the right reasons,” according to “How to Become a Pro Gamer in 10 Steps” for Intel. “The love of competition, the satisfaction of growing as a player, and the sense of contributing to a team and community are all valid reasons to play. In the long run, positive motivations are what keeps players engaged. Players who are motivated by cash, fame, and quick success, on the other hand, will likely burn out before ever turning pro.”
In fact, the peak of an esports professional is “so short-lived that players often toss their controller and call it quits by the time they’re in their mid 20s,” according to “Esports players burn out young as the grind takes mental, physical toll” for CBS News. The article explains that the world of esports is both physically and mentally demanding, which is why professional gamers barely past their teens burn out faster than athletes.
“Players between the ages of 21 and 25 have won more money than all other ages combined, according to stats posted on E-Sports Earnings,” according to “The 0.1 per cent: How eSports pros make a career playing video games” for Global News. “The data shows very few players win any prize money in their 30s, and only a handful have ever won money in their 40s.”
If you’re still all-in and know that you want to become a pro gamer, even after learning about how difficult the journey will be, you need to decide what kind of professional player you’d like to become.
2. DO YOU WANT TO BECOME A COMPETITIVE PRO OR A LIFESTYLE GAMER?
Competitive pros and lifestyle gamers are generally the two kinds of professional video game players, according to “How to Make Billions in E-Sports” for The New York Times.
Competitive pros are like pro athletes, competing on teams in specific games like teams compete in baseball or basketball. There’s lots of coaching, training and scrimmaging that takes place, and the gamers need to have raw talent.
On the other hand, lifestyle gamers are entertainers and play games on digital channels or live streaming services. The goal for lifestyle gamers is to build a massive following with millions of fans. The most successful streamers can earn seven- or eight-figure incomes, according to the New York Times.
“To get to this level, it helps if they are very good at their games, but they aren’t necessarily elite players,” according to the New York Times. “Above all, lifestyle gamers need to be compelling to watch – some combination of funny, attractive, edgy, and skilled.”
3. CHOOSE YOUR GAME
“The next step is to find your game,” according to the Intel article. “There are two schools of thought here: either pick a game that’s up-and-coming or go with a well-established game.”
The article explains that the reason to pick a game that’s already established is that the infrastructure and resources are already in place to support pro gaming. The downside to picking an established game is that it’s hard for newcomers to break into the scene.
“When a game is up-and-coming, players have an opportunity to help excavate the game and advance the meta, which tends to be more volatile and accommodating of different play styles at the outset,” according to the Intel article. “That said, there’s also a risk that a game’s competitive scene will fail to thrive, at which point you may have to pick a new game.”
The article recommends trying out a few different games and sticking with your favorite – the one that you truly love and look forward to coming back to and playing each and every day.
4. BECOME A MASTER OF YOUR CRAFT
“Becoming a master of your game takes a lot of time commitment, dedication, and of course natural skills for the genre,” according to “How to Become a Professional Gamer” for SteelSeries.
Top competitors are playing for 12 to 14 hours a day, at least 6 days a week, according to the CBS News article. That’s why Techni Sport writes in “How to become a pro gamer in 2020” that regardless of whether you want to be a competitive gamer or a streamer, you need to practice, practice, practice.
“If you’re a competitive gamer then you’ll constantly be battling against the best gamers in the world and you need to make sure your skill level is up to scratch,” according to Techni Sport. “On the other hand, if you’re a streamer then people will only watch high ranked players. If you’re not up to scratch then your viewing figures will suffer and you’ll lose subscribers, donations, and ad revenue.”
The Intel article recommends that you master the game’s mechanics first, which means concentrating on “learning game-specific skills until they become ingrained in your muscle memory.” Pro players practice mechanics tirelessly to stay sharp and make minute improvements, according to the Intel article, but players who are just starting out should improve a great deal with practice.
“While you’re honing your skills, start researching the game’s overarching strategy,” according to the article. “Understanding your role in a given situation is a good place to start.”
It’s also recommended that you watch the top players in your particular game or games and learn from them. Both videos and live streams are great resources for learning good in-game habits, and they provide a reference point for how you should be playing the game, according to the Intel article. Then, as you get better and better, you can watch replays of your own matches to break down your play style and learn from your mistakes.
5. INVEST IN GOOD GEAR
“Honing your strategy skills will only get you so far if you want to become a professional gamer,” according to the SteelSeries article. “If your gear doesn’t match up, you’re never going to have the competitive edge over your opponents. See your gear as your teammate – you need to work in harmony together for the best results.”
SteelSeries says that if you’re gaming on a PC, you need to make sure that your PC can handle any game without lag or stutter. It’s important for you to invest in a mouse that’s precise and accurate, as well as a quality monitor. You’ll also need a top-notch headset to hear every little sound, since sounds are often your audio clues as to where your enemies are approaching from in the game.
6. START STREAMING AND ATTRACT ATTENTION
Techni Sport suggests starting a stream regardless of whether you want to be a pro competitive gamer or a streamer. You’ll be able to use the streaming platform to showcase your skills and talent, which will hopefully help you get noticed.
“Getting yourself noticed is an important step if you want to make it like a pro,” according to Techni Sport. “Not only do you need to build a fan base of loyal fans but you also need to show off and get noticed by scouts. Many high-level streamers have gone on to join professional gaming teams all because they used streaming as a way to get spotted.”
Or, as the Intel article says, “Getting good at the game is only half the battle. The other half is making connections that will help you ascend the competitive ladder. Once you’ve found your footing in more competitive lobbies, start networking. Leverage your position as a quality opponent to connect with better players.”
It’s recommended that you create fan pages on different social media sites and use them to attract visitors to your streams.
“Getting views is the most important thing in building a social media following,” according to Techni Sport.
7. JOIN A TEAM
“The next step in your journey to become a professional gamer and leaping towards esports stardom is to join a team,” according to SteelSeries. “But you’ll have to already be absolutely nailing your game and have built up a solid reputation in the esports community, which is why networking is so important early on.”
SteelSeries says that you might even be approached by a team and asked to join. You can also try reaching out to teams and other esports enthusiasts via online forums.
8. STAY BALANCED AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
“While the grind mentality looms large in esports, pros must learn how to balance their practice regimen and off-screen activities,” according to the Intel article. “A holistic approach to practice – including proper nutrition, exercise, and an active social life – improves mental focus and prevents burnout. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will allow you to stay motivated for long enough to develop the skills that will ultimately attract pro organizations.”
Becoming a pro gamer will probably take years of hard work and practice, according to the article. But, in order to succeed, it’s important to take a well-rounded approach to training that includes developing social skills, expanding your knowledge of the game, finding positive sources of motivation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.