Every video game player wants to be a professional eSports player. They are the new superstars. They have legions of fans who watch all of their matches, cheer them on, and wear their merchandise.
In addition to the fame and fortune, it's also a career that lets you do what you love. You get to play your favorite video games all day, alongside your closest friends! You also get to travel all over the globe attending tournaments and seeing new places.
That description of being a professional eSports player skips a few steps, however. There is a lot of work involved in becoming a pro and there's more to it than just being mildly good at a video game.
How to Become an eSports Player
To become an eSports player, you'll need to choose a game that already has an established eSports presence or a game that has a lot of eSports potential. If you're a PC gamer, then some of the biggest eSports games on computers are games like League of Legends. According to Statista's report on viewership of the world championships, 99.6 million people tuned in in 2018, confirming that the game has a massive eSports presence. Other PC games like Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are also big on PC. However, games like Call of Duty, although they are available on PC, are played on PS4 for eSports. Sony has an exclusive deal for Call of Duty marketing including the game's DLC and that means that the game's eSports is played on PS4 as well.
Once you've chosen a game and a platform, you'll need to acquire the right hardware. Standard PC peripherals won't cut it as, in order to become a professional eSports player, you'll need high-performance, precision hardware designed for eSports professionals. The peripherals that you'll want to get are keyboards that have anti-ghost technology so that you don't accidentally press a key that you didn't mean to. You'll also want a high-quality computer mouse that provides extra buttons (to perform additional actions in games quickly) and a headset with loud and clean audio so that you can hear your teammates when they call out an opponent's moves or position.
How Much Do eSports Players Earn?
Getting into eSports can be incredibly lucrative for players. The base monthly salary of a professional eSports player averages between $1,000 and $5,000, but this varies depending on the game. It also depends on the performance of the player. The prize pots of some eSports tournaments are huge, with games like Fortnite offering hundreds of millions of dollars (across its entire eSports season) in prizes for amateur players and eSports pros. The more a player wins, the more they could potentially earn.
However, some eSports players don't just make money from their base salaries. Many also find themselves getting sponsorship deals with brands who support the eSports industry. Companies like Betway, which has an eSports betting platform and an online casino, sponsors eSports teams and display their logo on the back of jerseys. Betway is the main sponsor of German eSports outfit Berlin International Gaming (known as BIG) and has also partnered with eSports competitions like the Intel Extreme Masters series. By promoting these brands, eSports players can maximize their earnings and make a lot more than their salary.
What Training is Involved to Be an eSports Player?
However, becoming a successful eSports player that gets lots of brand sponsorships and deals takes a lot of training. While you may have some skill at a game, it will take a lot of training to keep up with the game and its updates, shift in its meta (the most powerful characters and the best items) and to stay on top.
eSports players have to train for hours upon hours a day. While the optimum eSports training time will differ for each game, many eSports players say that they train for around seven or eight hours a day (if not more), playing games with teammates and practice games against opponents.
Being an eSports player is a difficult balance. There is a lot of reward but, like so many skills, you'll have to work at your craft to be seen as a professional.