So, you want to be a Professional Gamer.
The first consideration is what exactly this means to you. Does pro gaming mean being recruited by Tempo Storm and moving to a house where you'll live and practice with teammates? Does it instead mean staying where you are and growing the largest Twitch viewership in history? Does it mean being able to wager $5 down at the arcade and reliably win some money from time to time?
Each of these will have different paths and end goals to keep in mind. Before we get into the specifics of what these might entail, we should discuss a few important topics. Let’s begin with the idea of being the best of the best, a pro gamer on a team or as an individual.
Esports Is Growing
As discussed in this article, esports is a growing industry that is not likely to slow in the future. With that said, competition is fierce. Are you aware of how long it can take to earn a spot among the best players in the world? Have you also read about how some groups take advantage of their players, most of whom are young, inexperienced, and simply do not know better? If the current lawsuit against FaZe Clan is any indication, potential pro players need to be informed about who they work with.
How Much Time Do The Pros Spend Training?
It depends on the game, but many professional teams will need to spend eight hours a day or more practicing. This may shift a beloved game into a full-time mission. We almost said full-time job, but jobs pay money, and practice isn't paid.
If you have not yet graduated High School, or are in College or University, this is a major point to consider. Aiming to be a professional gamer is a lofty dream. The best of the best are millionaires, but one must realize that the likelihood of reaching that is akin to becoming a professional sports player or a rock star. It is possible for a few, but the large majority, the other 99.99% of the world, should not cast aside educational opportunities so carelessly.
An education can be a terrible thing to waste. When combined with the idea of how long one spends training, one needs to seriously consider how they can balance their lives. Can someone practice a video game, sitting for eight hours or more, and also exercise, attend class, and study in a day? It sounds like an impossible task, because it likely is.
How Old Are You?
Did you know that the average age of an esports competitor is 25 years old? And that's on the high end. This is because, generally speaking, esports is a young person’s game. Consider Starcraft or Starcraft 2. For years it has been assumed that after a certain age, an individual’s ability to input a certain amount of Actions Per Minute (APM) slows down too much to remain competitive, particularly in games like Starcraft where the top players in the world are able to input a staggering 300-400 APM for the duration of their matches.
As you can see, certain games allow for certain ages on average. Before you dedicate yourself to become the best at your favorite game, you might want to consider how long you would realistically remain a viable competitor.
Relentless Training – No Longer A Game, But Repetitive Exercises
CBS highlighted a number of issues with esports in a recent report. To sum up their findings, the players are all young, and yet they have ailments and body issues of people much older than themselves. Living a sedentary lifestyle is already considered a terrible health risk, now imagine that one needs to sit at their computer for eight hours a day of tedious, repetitive practice. The effect on the body would require some form of offsetting activity, however with schoolwork, one has even less time to get up and be active.
As a result, one is likely to burnout much in the same way that they would with other activities. Exercise and balanced diet are key, even more than with the average person.
Create A List Of Specific, Quantifiable Goals Relating To Your Progress
Now that you've considered the realities of an esports life, let's discuss how to break in.
The great thing about games like Fortnite, Magic: The Gathering Arena, and Hearthstone, are that clear, detailed periods exist when one may play and qualify for a spot in a larger tournament. To continue using Fortnite as an example, there are World Cup Online Opens, weekly online tournaments with a chance to win some money and qualify for the Fortnite World Cup Finals.
These events let one quantifiably observe how they rank compared to other players. This is a key activity to engage in, for without constant evaluation and revaluation of one’s position relative to the best players in the world, they may not have an accurate representation of their abilities.
However, with specific rank goals, one can see how close or far they are from being at a certain competitive level, and that can help make realistic choices about proceeding or stopping.
Persistence – Twitch Viewership Starts At Zero
If your plan is to be a Twitch or YouTube streamer, you may be too late. As streaming has become more and more popular over the years, so too has the base of streamers grown. At the same time, certain games are seeing their viewership decline, as has been the case with some recent Fortnite tournaments.
More streamers and fewer viewers means that it is harder than ever to begin streaming.
If you still wish to start streaming, you'll need to invest some capital into the required hardware: a computer capable of playing your game of choice at the optimal settings for competitive play, streaming hardware like a webcam and audio equipment, and an internet service provider that can reliably provide bandwidth and connection speeds to put this all together. Not having even one of those elements will likely sink your ship before it leaves dock.
If finally, all of this comes together, then you need to stream a game for the love of streaming, because you will be doing it with little to no viewers for a long time. At the start, nothing differentiates you from other streamers, and it could be months or years before your viewership grows to any sort of respectable number. How will you pay for things in the meantime? You may be great at a game, and a wonderful entertainer, but none of that pays the bills at first.
No Reward Without Risk
Succeeding in something like gaming will not happen by accident, nor will it happen overnight. Instead, one needs to treat the endeavor in the same way an elite athlete seeks to represent their country at the Olympics. They need to devote what some might consider an unhealthy amount of time to training, forgo other opportunities in one’s social or personal life, and keep an extremely focused gaze upon their physical health for the problems that arise from sitting all day in a computer chair.
This may sound pessimistic, but the reality is thus, that such a goal is not for everyone, and those who strive for it will have to make sacrifices along the way.
This article was inspired by Quora. Click here to see the original question.