Many people have a dream—what if someone paid you to play video games? In the 21st century, this dream has become a reality. Playing video games professionally is a legitimate job, and a growing market sector. Esports players are popular, participate in tournaments, and become celebrities on par with non-virtual ones. A pro gamer can draw huge crowds and win millions of dollars, so it is a popular career option.
However, it is known that pro gaming requires passion, patience, and talent. How to become a professional gamer? Pro-playing is not for everyone, even if they love games—you have to approach it like a regular 9-to-5 job… only that it takes far longer. Sometimes you have to play one game for a dozen hours, and to relax you have to do something else.
If you still want to become a pro gamer, then we have a list of step-by-step tips for you to start making money from games and your 1337 skills in no time.
What does it mean to be a professional gamer?
It’s very important to remember that a “professional” gamer is not the same as a “very good” one. As usual, a professional takes money for his work. Professional players are those who compete in tournaments for prizes, and pro-playing is just a regular job for them. Professional players are also paid by sponsors or marketers and sometimes play on a team.
Professional gamers are not video game testers; they focus on playing games, not making them and improving them with feedback. Like the other athletes, a pro gamer must constantly train and study the game until they can compete in high-level tournaments. They spend hours practicing hand-eye coordination, reflexes and new strategies and approaches.
Many professional gamers are streamers—but not every streamer is a gamer, even if they make money playing games. Professional broadcasters use YouTube and Twitch to grow their channel and audience. Unlike professional gamers, streamers make money through ad revenue and online game broadcasts. Many streamers also broadcast something else than video games, like conversations, board games or commentary on old commercials. Anyone can make money from streaming, without competition like in e-sports, or without coaching.
Professional gamers earn more than streamers through tournaments sponsored by game developers and expensive equipment. However, many pro gamers also stream on Twitch, whether to boost their brand or to train and earn some extra money on the side.
How to become a professional gamer, step by step?
How to become a professional gamer? It is not easy and requires passion and hard work. However, if you have quick reflexes and willpower, you can try your hand at it.
Step 1: Find your motivation
You should play e-sports for the right reasons. If you're only thinking about money or fame, you're bound to burn out when you're not making money. You need to have a passion for what you do, a desire to compete, improve and act as a team.
Positive motivations keep players interested in the long run. Falling in love with the game will help you become a professional through consistent practice. You don’t have to be a professional to show off your skills.
Step 2: Choose your game, platform, and genre.
Beginners should focus on one game, platform, or genre. It is impossible to master all games and the places where you can play them, so you need to make a choice.
Choose a genre, such as strategy or racing. Again, the more detailed you are, the better your chances of success. Of course, it's best to pick games you're good at—but of course, no one will organize tournaments of 2d adventure games or MMORPGs. Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite, StarCraft II, etc. are currently the most popular e-sports. Of course, this may change in a few years or even months!
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Also decide which platform you want to play on; as a rule, it is considered that consoles are better for action games and PCs for strategy, RPGs and MOBAs, but this is not a rule. Many old-school pro gamers prefer a mouse and keyboard for FPS games.
Step 3: Practice makes perfect
If you want to be a professional gamer, you must strive for perfection. Watch professional players and streamers, study game methods and optimize gameplay. Work on your pro gaming reflexes. It is worth training your skills, not only in your chosen game.
You can easily find tips, lessons, and game guides from other players on the Internet. View YouTube gaming channels or Twitch to learn more about various tricks and techniques.
Step 4: Invest in gaming gear
To be successful in gaming, you need the right equipment. You don't have to buy everything at once, especially if you're just starting out, but your equipment shouldn't get in the way of your gaming. It is difficult to be a successful pro playing on an office laptop... although it is not impossible in many e-sports.
Consider buying or upgrading to a good headset with surround sound, a mechanical keyboard, a mouse with adjustable load and a comfortable chair. If you play on consoles, it's worth investing in a wired controller with extra buttons under which you can hook up a macro.
If you want to stream on Twitch or YouTube gaming, it's worth buying a good webcam and microphone. You'll also find graphics editing software useful.
Step 5: Join a gaming community, clan, or club.
Having skills is only half the battle. Getting noticed is just as important. To become a pro gamer, you have to join a community of players, online or in person, to do just that. This way you will not only promote yourself as a player but get psychological support from others.
Joining a community is not just networking; you will also meet people who will help you become a professional player. Together, you can practice and learn to improve your talents—and promote yourselves as a team.
Step 6: Participate in gaming events
Joining a gaming community will help you find gaming events and tournaments. Active community members often watch or play at local pro gaming events and can let you know about them. If your city hosts an esports tournament, participating is the best way to gain experience and respect from the pro-playing community. Visiting expos and conventions as a team also lets you promote your gaming crew and make new connections.
Step 7: Play in leagues and tournaments.
After local gaming events, go professional. Take part in professional tournaments to see what other players are capable of, and then participate when you're ready. You can visit major games like IEM world championships. Online tournaments will help you promote your brand, and the more you win them, the more professional tournaments will come your way.
Step 8: Earning and sponsorships
If you win one-off tournaments, you can't count on them as a steady income. A professional player is one who makes a living from his skills—but he can also get a sponsor. Professional players get paid by brands to promote their equipment or other products—such as energy drinks. Once you've invested time and money in games, it's time to start making money.
Think about how you want to make money off your pro gaming skills - do you receive gifts or by partnering with a brand? Many e-sports players have “sold out” and are already working for commercial teams—just like other professional athletes.
Step 9: Win and promote yourself!
When you start winning tournaments, it's a good time to expand your brand. You can start earning money from advertising, streaming, promoting your image—and many professional players often move on to big, well-known teams. As with traditional sports, you'll need a real manager!
Step 10: Hit the gym!
E-sports also requires physical real sports training, so hit the gym! A comprehensive approach to exercise improves concentration and minimizes fatigue. A healthy lifestyle will motivate you to acquire skills that will attract professional teams. E-sports are very physically demanding—professional athletes typically retire before 40, and in the case of e-sports sometimes even before 25! Take care of your image and physical fitness.
Now you know how to become a professional gamer. It's a long road from beginner to professional, so passion is key.
To grow as a player, you need to improve your social skills, expand your knowledge of the game, discover positive motivation and lead a healthy lifestyle. And we hope that you will always follow your passions!