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How to Become a Pro Gamer

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Is Pro Gaming Right for You?

Many people picture video gamers as people who sit at their desks or TV sets and play games all day. However, professional gaming, led by Major League Gaming, or MLG, is a popular electronic sport. Regardless of which platform or game is your favorite, there is probably a competition for the world champion. In some cases, professional gamers compete for prizes in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, and many game teams actively seek talented players. Gaming is a male-dominated industry, but a few women describe themselves as pro gamers. The long hours of practice and travel make it a time-consuming job for working mothers.

Job Description

If you love to play video games or even a single specific game, you may wonder if you could build a professional career out of it. But, out of the millions of people who play video games, only a small handful can make a career at it. If you think you have the skills to become a pro gamer, find a game you are good at and keep practicing until you’re better than everyone else out there. Play with people who are better than you so you can continue to grow your skills. Work out different strategies for both team and individual play, watch game-play videos by more experienced players, and join or form a team. Be prepared to spend long hours honing your skills at the controller or keyboard to get ready to compete at the highest level.

Education Requirements

Becoming a pro gamer doesn’t require a specific education, but it does require some specialized skills. Of course, you need a gaming computer or console setup that enables you to play for long hours to practice strategy. You also need fast hands to make the necessary moves quickly and efficiently. Top players of the “Starcraft” computer game can execute up to 300 actions or keystrokes per minute, and many spend hours practicing the same maneuver over and over. Professional gamers report spending eight to 16 hours a day practicing individually or with their team. Understand that becoming a pro gamer is not an overnight process, and you need a long-term plan that includes working your way up the ranks, winning local competitions, joining a team or gaining a sponsorship.

Industry Trends

The video game industry remains popular year after year. People continue to buy and play video games, and more people are interested in watching others play. Only the top handful can make a full-time income competing professionally. Other players who earn an income competing at games either maintain their day jobs or earn additional money by streaming game-play footage through websites that pay for content. If you love video games but don’t have the time to devote the hours of intense practice required to reach the top, you could try to break into the game industry as a tester, computer programmer or video game designer.

Years of Experience

As you become part of the community for your chosen game, you may hear about smaller local tournaments. Joining these can be a way to hone your skills and get noticed by bigger players and teams. Most gamers don’t earn a salary; instead, they receive a percentage of the prize pool from competitions won either individually or as part of a team. Smaller competitions have smaller prize pools, and the money increases as you work your way up to bigger events. British Esports Association reports that as of 2013, only 60 pro gamers had earned more than $100,000 in prize money; the top 15 gamers in the world earned between $226,776 and $454,544 over the course of two or three years playing in an average of 30 tournaments. Of course, most competitive gamers earn much less, and many have traditional jobs on the side. Many gamers are sponsored by tech-focused or gaming-centric companies, which brings in additional income.

Job Growth Trend

The popularity of electronic sports, or e-sports, continues to grow. More people tune into e-sports, and more of those become dedicated viewers. This means that more teams seek out talented players. Although Asia has historically been the location for the top players and teams, more are becoming popular in North America. Becoming a pro gamer requires determination, practice and some luck to get noticed, but it can be a dream job for a talented player.