Are you kind of obsessed with video games for a very long time? Are you an avid gamer already and streaming hours of gaming on Twitch or Youtube? Or you are still not sure but can’t live a day without playing at least a couple of hours using your gaming consoles or online? Are you a little bit confused as to whether you should study more and do well in exams or play video games more seriously? This write-up will assure you that you can make a great career out of gaming but will also tell you that it is extremely difficult to become a Pro Gamer. Competition is super high. Obstacles are many. Will you require dedication, passion, commitment, focus, perseverance, mental stamina, and physical fitness? Well, all are required in a large amount. But if you can make it, you can become a millionaire before you are 30, or at least maybe be able to retire before you are 35. Want to take a ride? Read on.
Professional Gamers play live video games on the internet or even play offline and typically compete with other gamers either in a team or individually. These games can be played either online or offline. Gaming competitions, leagues, and tournaments are usually organized by various organizations and esports associations in the world such as the International Esports Federation and Valve Corporation. Becoming a Pro Gamer is extremely difficult but if you know no other way rather than getting into professional gaming to make your living, then you may make an attempt.
Why Become a Professional Gamer?
Professional Gamers play online live video games on the internet which are typically multiplayer games. Some games could be played offline too. In many cases, a professional online or offline video game is played in a team. A Professional Gamer team up with others and play online or offline video game competitions or tournaments which are organized by various organizations and esports associations in the world such as the International Esports Federation (IESF).
Even India has its own esports federation called ESFI (Esports Federation of India) which is a member of the International Esports Federation and Asian Electronic Sports Federation. Many professional esports tournaments are streamed live on Twitch, the online live video game streaming platform and even some tournaments are broadcast on television channels.
Major genres of esports games
Depending on your interest, you may choose to become a professional in a given genre of the video game such as MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), Online card games (such as poker and blackjack), FPS (First Person Shooter), DCCG (Digital Collectible Card Games), Battel Royal Games, RTS (Real Time Strategy Games), etc.
MOBA games are played between teams where each team’s objective is to destroy the opposing team’s virtual battle structures (enemy base) and defeat each player of the opposing team. The most popular game in this genre is Dota 2 developed by Valve Corporation. Many worldwide tournaments are held for Dota 2 every year where professional gamers participate. These tournaments have millions of dollars of prize money.
FPS games are basically combat games played with virtual guns and ammunition. An FPS game is played from the first person’s eye, or through the eyes of the protagonist. So, here, when you play, you are the protagonist. Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developed by Valve Corporation, Rainbow Six Siege developed by Ubisoft Montreal, Overwatch developed by Blizzard Entertainment, and Titanfall 2 developed by Respawn Entertainment are a few of the popular FPS games.
Battle Royal games are online multiplayer games played in a virtual battle arena where you or your team has to survive and eliminate all opponents. In these games, the winner is the last person or team to survive. The most popular in this genre is PUBG (Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds). PUBG is an online multiplayer game developed and published by PUBG Corporation.
Most of the esports tournaments are organized as physical events where players take part in the games at an arena with a live audience. Many big esports tournaments are streamed live on Twitch and also broadcast on television. Some of the big esports tournaments worldwide are World Cyber Games (it is also known as Esports Olympics), Electronic Sports World Cup in France, World e-Sports Games in Hangzhou, China, eGames (a tournament between countries), International Esports Federation (IESF) World tournament, Valve Corporation’s annual Dota 2 tournament, Battle.net World Championship Series for games like StarCraft II and World of Warcraft, Call of Duty World League, e-XTREMESLAND (Asian tournament for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive game), etc.
In India, you can participate in tournaments such as ESL India Premiership, NGS Championship (featuring games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, FIFA, Rocket League, etc.), PUBG Mobile India Series (for PUBG game), U Cypher (for games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Real Cricket, etc.), e-XTREMESLAND (the final is held in China), Ultimate Battle (for various games), and COBX Masters.
What hardware and software do you need to play computer video games professionally?
You can play many games on mobile. But if you want to go professional and make a career in esports, you will need high-end PCs or Laptops, video game consoles, specially designed keyboards, VR (Virtual Reality) devices (in case you play VR games like Arizona Sunshine and Space Fist), headphones, etc. Gaming computers require heavy computing and thus basic computers that perform day-to-day work cannot provide the power, speed and memory that a computer used for professional gaming can.
Some of the latest Gaming Computers are Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model, MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, Lenovo Legion Y740, Acer Predator Triton 500, MSI GL63 8RC among many others. Most gaming computers are custom-built which reduces product cost and increases upgradability. Typically these computers have Intel Core i7 or above processors, NVIDIA GeForce graphic card, 16 GB RAM, etc.
Professional gaming needs specifically designed keyboards, Gaming consoles (such as Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB Console, Nintendo Wii U, and the Microsoft Xbox 360), and handheld devices that provide ‘gaming on the go’ features like Sony PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo DS series.
Two of the popular games that are being played globally are briefly described as follows:
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
This is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game, played all over the world by professional gamers in international tournaments and competitions particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. There are two opposing teams, one is of Terrorists and the other is of counter-terrorists. The teams compete in game modes to complete objectives and targets for example: securing a location or finding a spot to plant or defuse a bomb, rescuing hostages, or killing the targeted terrorists. The players are rewarded at the end of each round based on their individual performance with the currency developed in-game to spend on more powerful weaponry and ammunition in the following rounds.
League of Legends
League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game in which the players adopt the role of an unseen “summoner” that controls a champion with distinctive abilities and battles against another team of players or computer-controlled pro gamers. The ultimate goal is to destroy the opposing team’s “Nexus” which is a structure that lies at the center of the base. The players get expensive weapons and ammo during the fight and are rewarded by killing other opposing team players and also by defending their own team players.
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Popular Specialization in Professional Gamer Profession
The Players in Multiplayer Online Battle Arena are part of a team that competes against another team of players. The players have to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the help of frequently spawning characters that are controlled by each player. The most famous MOBA games that are widely played in esports championships and tournaments are: Defence of the Ancients (Dota), League of Legends, Demigod, Monday Night Combat, Guardian of Middle Earth, etc.
What Does a Professional Gamer do?
As a Computer Gamer, your main key roles and responsibilities would be:
- You would have to stick to the rules and regulations of the games.
- You would have to make sure that the online gaming platforms are secure and protected from virus and malware attacks.
- You would have to pay attention to fake websites and gaming platforms.
- You would have to maintain personal integrity.
- As a computer gamer, you should play legitimate games that do not endorse or promote illegal activities on the web.
How to Become a Professional Gamer – Eligibility Criteria
To become a Pro Gamer, passion alone is not sufficient to make the cut. Esports are extremely competitive and you need to invest in the right gaming gear to begin with and a lot of hours, every day. You will need perseverance, the ability to undertake extremely hard work, focus at your game consistently for very long hours day after day, the ability to work in a team (if you play a team game), the ability to become a part of the gaming community, and so on.
You need hours of practice, often 12 to 14 hours of practice to be able to win tournaments and make big money. Professional gaming needs extreme concentration and mental abilities. Not everyone can become a professional gamer even if he/she likes to play video games. Video games and professional gaming are two different worlds. It’s very tough, although never impossible, to make your mark in the professional world of gaming.
Whether you want to win tournaments and championships or just have fun while improving your skills, there are certain requirements and unique set of skills that need to be acquired in order to be a part of competitions.
First, you need to establish yourself as a well-rounded gamer who can take on the competition in any kind of arena. For this you need to practice playing for long hours at a stretch. Some games are only available for one gaming platform for which you will have to invest in specific gaming accessories. You have to hone your skills by playing as an amateur first for 3-5 years.
You also need to pay close attention to top players and their strategies, research, read and watch videos on gaming tricks, game mechanics (meaning understanding how the game progresses, what challenges come in what sequence, etc.), and strategies. With hours of practice and research (this might take a year or two in this process), you may finally be ready to compete in national and international championships and leagues. Remember that from the day you start practicing to the day when you become a Pro Gamer in a tournament may take long years, maybe 2-4 years.
Joining a community of gamers is very important. You may do better by joining a team (depending on the game you want to play). This is an obstacle here as joining a team doesn’t depend on your desire but actually, a team has to recruit you. You have to compete in online competitions, be a part of various tournaments, and then attempt to sponsorships. But in most cases, all these will depend upon whether you are being scouted by a team and the team makes an offer to you to join.
Along with your education, you should start playing computer games initially as an amateur. After years of practicing in competitions and leagues, you may get an opportunity to start playing professional games. As an amateur player, you can practice playing games online or on live streaming channels. You can become a part of gaming teams or play individually. But the obstacle here is that you do not choose a team to join. It’s not easy at all. A team has to find you and recruit you. For this, you have to join communities and make your presence felt in amateur competitions and build a portfolio (meaning your scores in the games you play, your winning records, etc.). You can only hope that a team may notice you and make an offer.
You may find various online start-ups that provide young gamers a platform to experience the world of gaming.
Some of the top online platforms are Adda52, PokerBaazi, Spartan Poker, Poker Stars, gamers Arena, World Cyber Arena, GameSync, Contender Esports, etc.
Some of the top Indian boot camps and organizations are: Team Brutality, Roar, Beyond Infinity, Gamers for Life (G4L), etc.
So what’s the way to becoming a Pro Gamer? Nothing. Play. Play. And play. Build a good portfolio. Make the gaming community and sponsoring organizations notice you. Without that, you may not be able to earn enough money and take up gaming as a full-time career.
Salary of a Professional Gamer
Professional gamers’ or Computer gamers’ source of income depends on several factors. They usually have many sources through which they earn money. Initially, as an amateur player, you may have to invest money prior to being able to play as a pro gamer. In games like Poker, you need to put in buy-in money before playing the game although the rewards and earnings are much more than the amount invested (provided you are winning).
In Esports, players make money through sponsorships, prizes, salaries, and sharing of streaming revenue. A team may pay you salaries (in case you are really able to reach a level that makes game teams notice you and make an offer – it is extremely difficult to get an offer). After you have built a pro-gamer portfolio and are competing in championships and tournaments, brands that you purchase for your gaming accessories might want to sponsor you or invest in you via several sponsored tournaments. For example, brands like Mt. Dew and Flipkart organize gaming tournaments like Dew Arean, Flipkart Gaming online Championship, IeSC, ROG Masters, and ESL India and the prize pool is around 50 Lakhs-85 Lakhs.
In India as a pro gamer, you first need to submit copies of ID documents and tax account numbers before you can start playing on online platforms. There are no other barriers before you start earning as a pro gamer (that is, if you are playing as an individual player). Although there are various buy-in amounts for playing a game like Poker once you start playing well and start winning, you can start earning good money. In order to receive bonuses and cash prizes, you need to maintain a good score amongst the players to be able to top the leader board which is updated on a weekly as well as monthly basis.
You may earn around Rs.1,000 – Rs. 30,00,000 in a year depending upon which game you are playing and in which national or international tournament you are participating in.
At the beginning, you will not make much, say about Rs. 1,000-5,000 a month. But as you increase your level and experience, you can soon start earning about Rs. 10,000 – 25,000 a month or even more. Some pro players (including their prize money and sponsorships, etc.) could be earning about Rs. 50,000-1,00,000 a month on average in a month. Senior Pro players, depending upon their tournament winning and rankings, may earn about Rs. 1,00,000-2,50,000 or even more a month on average. If you can really make it happen at the world stage, you will be a millionaire before you turn 30!
There’s no fixed per-month salary, but once you have maintained a pro-gamer portfolio or managed to top the scoreboard you may open more sources for cash rewards and prizes.
The highest earnings by players under22 years old are $31,212,142.96
The highest earnings by players under 18 years old are $2,712,139.14
In the US, some top prizes can reach $100,000 to $ 200,000 for a single victory. Some tournaments offer prize pools that can reach millions of dollars, but this amount is typically divided among the 5 or 6 members of a winning team.
Regular salaries – Regular Esports salaries vary from team to team and from player to player. The regular monthly salaries of average pro gamers range from $1,000 – $5,000, whereas the highest-paid League of Legends players can earn up to $15,000 per month apart from the money that they get from prizes.
Sponsors – A big part of a professional gamer’s income comes from sponsors. Pro gaming tournament sponsors are mainly manufacturers of game peripherals such as mice and headphones (Intel, BenQ) as well as energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster Energy).
Streaming – Many Esports pros use online streaming as a way to supplement their pro gamer salary.
Career Progression in Professional Gamer Profession
It may take many years to become a pro gamer after which you can participate in international tournaments. You can take part in professional esports national and international tournaments and leagues. Participating in international professional tournaments can provide more opportunities to play with professional players. Some of the esports leagues are Overwatch League, Rocket League Championship Series, and Halo Championship Series. Some of the esports Tournaments are The League of Legends World Championship Series (LCS), Dota 2, The International, and League of Legends World Championship among many others.
What does Industry Trends Say – Future Prospects
The future of gaming is exciting although it will be highly competitive and there are many obstacles in the way of becoming a pro gamer. According to the reports by KPMG, the Indian online gaming industry is projected to grow at a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 22.1 percent and reach Rs.11,880 crore by FY 2023 whereas the global eSports market was valued at nearly 865 million U.S. dollars.
The Global eSports market revenue will reach 1.79 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. At a pace of 22.3 percent CAGR, the market is expected to generate close to 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue by 2022. The majority of revenues are from sponsorships, advertising, and the rest from eSports betting, prize pools, tournaments, merchandise and ticket sales. This means that there will be a further increase in the number of online gamers nationally and internationally with an equal number of online viewers/audiences as more online streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch are gaining importance. To all the gaming enthusiasts who want to take their passion for gaming to another level, there’s more to this gaming industry in the upcoming future.
- Guide on Gaming Courses in India
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