This is the next post in my series highlighting different careers in the video game industry.
Today I am covering the career of a professional gamer.
What does a professional gamer do?
A professional gamer, as the term implies, is some one who gets paid to play a video game, similar to how athletes get paid to play a sport.
If you mention this to your gamer, he might react with, “Paid to play video games? Sign me up!” While it does sound awesome, there is more to it that might not be as glamorous as your gamer thinks.
One thing you may have noticed in my definition is this is some one who gets paid to play a video game, not video games. If you think about it in terms of sports, this make sense.
Lebron James is an amazing athlete. However, that’s not what makes him the best basketball player in the world. He is the best because of one thing, focus.
Yes, he could probably excel at many different sports. But he choose basketball. He focused on it and honed his skills in it until he became the best. And even now, he still has to work at his skills to keep them up.
It is the same with professional gamers. These gamers have chosen to focus on one game and become the best they possible can at that game. Playing their chosen game became their full-time job. They spend their days playing and honing their skills.
The question your gamer needs to answer before going this route is whether he would be willing to give up playing almost every other game out there to focus exclusively on one.
How much money is there to be made doing this?
The money to be made as a professional gamer depends on a lot of factors. Recently Valve hosted their International Tournament for their game DOTA 2. This tournament had a total prize pool over $18 million with a little over $6.6 million going to the winning team. That’s not bad for 5 days of playing a video game.
Now, to be clear, that money is not just split evenly among the players. A DOTA 2 team consists of 5 active players. Each player of the winning team did not take home $1.3 million. Instead, that money went into a pot and then divided among the players and other people involved with the team (i.e. their manager).
The amount of money a gamer can make will depend on the game he chooses. Did he choose a team game like DOTA 2 or League of Legends or a solo game like StarCraft 2? How big are the prize pools in the tournaments for his game?
Tournament prize money is a big source of a professional gamers income but is not the only source. They also make money from sponsorships and streaming their play, among other things.
How would my gamer get started?
There are a few things I would recommend your gamer checking out of he is interested in becoming a professional gamer.
- Check out the ESports Today podcast. They go over the happenings in esports every week.
- Check out ProGamerHub. They have articles on how much pro gamers make, what the top paying games are, how to be come a pro gamer, what a typical day for a pro gamer looks like, and more.
- Pick a game and start playing. It will take a lot of work to get good enough to make some real money so he needs to get on it now!