ESports is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. How hard is it to get your career started?
We have all heard that getting into E-sports is a long and difficult path. However, although there is some truth in this statement there is also hope at the end of the tunnel. According to Esports Earnings, there are currently over 8,500 players earning money through tournaments this year, compared to a decade prior, there were only around 3,000 competitors. Now, you may be asking what does this mean and how do you take advantage of it?
It is quite simple really, it is all about supply and demand. The number of pro eSports tournaments has not really changed since a decade ago. What has changed is the games being played and the number of contestants entering, as well as an increase in lower-tier tournaments which provide some opportunity for “Noobs” to compete in. This has caused a huge boom in both tournament entry revenue and ad-revenue allowing the big companies such as Riot and Blizzard to have a huge boom in prize pool money.
Once again looking at the numbers from 2010 a total of $6,269,409.87 was won in prize money flashforward to 2020 only halfway through the year and the total is $29,572,284, which is pennies compared to the year of 2019. The for the year 2019 the total was a staggering $225,678,330 unfortunately this number may not be beaten this year due to the disruption of COVID-19 affecting the top three countries in eSports (China, South Korea, and the United States).
So, why does this all matter? It matters because eSports still has not reached its peak. The comparison I like to use is computer engineering, website development, and all the things computer-related during the 90s and the early 2000s. Many of those geniuses were just like many of you reading this article at home, who fell in love with their hobbies! These moguls understood their craft better than most and realized they can make money off it. We are in this phase right now! Anyone with a little bit of knowledge and some elbow grease can begin to make a living by playing professional eSports.
What’s the goal?
The main goal of all pro players is the pursuit of glory and being a professional player on the big screen. This path is the more popular one and also the more difficult one (the other path being behind the scenes such as managers and coaches…).
In order to become a professional player, not only do you have to invest hours upon hours playing the game, you have to learn the mechanics and strategies within the game. It is also important to grow your social media space. The social media platforms which are dominated by pro players are those that allow for livestreaming, these include Facebook Gaming, Mixer, and the infamous Twitch. These platforms are in essence scouting grounds, especially with the addition of the new esport tab on Twitch. Players are recognized for their high ranking within the game and bring viewers to their pages, this viewership allows them to stand out from the crowd.
It is unfair to single out those who took advantage of this but, we can all think of a couple of players who got into teams just because they had a bigger social media presence than their peers… eSports is a business which many people forget a big reason why so many self-proclaimed “tryhards” will never make it in the pro scene. It’s a mindset, just playing the game and being in a team will not cut it. Although possible, you are very much limiting your chances of success.
I myself am not a pro eSports competitor, but the scene is quickly evolving to a more mainstream sport, which essentially has created a no man’s land scenario. This is where you have the pros on one side and the “tryhards” on the other. The issue there is that it is difficult to transition from one to the other due to the high amount of competition and lack of structured progression.
Unlike other mainstream professional sports, tournaments have not yet reached a point where it is common to have low-level (skill ability) events to be available and fully filled up. This causes a scenario where those who are “beginners” to the competitive scene have to compete with some very well-established players! (I suggest both Toornament and Battlefy as places to start looking for tournaments!)
Grow your rep
The only way to get through the whole beginner phase in the world of eSports and I hope you guessed it by now is rigorous repetition. In order to learn the ropes, you need to be ready to play the long game. In the beginning, you may end up losing many more times than winning, however, stick to it for long enough and the wins will follow and your infamous gamertag will begin to spread through the community. The same goes for teammates (if it is a team-based game).
There are a million different organizations out there all offering similar contracts, which essentially gives you the opportunity to compete with other players hopefully with similar abilities and for you to grow and develop for a certain period of time. The key is the exploration and pursuit of development. If you feel like the team has done all they can, and you are no longer learning anything maybe its time to move on.
This isn’t an extensive list more of a rough guide of what to expect, in reality, there are a million and one ways of getting recruited for a professional team, but it never hurts to do a bit of extra work which will put you in front of your competition!
Main points for eSport players wanting to become pro:
1) Invest time into the game (learn the game, don’t just play it)
2) Social media (create a following to allow for more exposure to recruiters)
3) Accept you will lose before you win
4) Enter tournaments on a regular basis
5) Be a part of a progressive team
6) Learn to move on when the team is holding you back (as difficult as it sounds if you want to be the best you need to look towards playing with the best)
7) REPEAT UNTIL YOU SUCCEED!!!