The esports industry has blown up like a rocket in the last decade.
High school gamers are now scoring college scholarships, state of the art esports stadiums are being built, and youths all around the world have dreams of turning pro.
Unfortunately, due to a relatively young industry, there’s very little information out there on how to point your esports career in the right direction.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide on the choices you should make, to qualify for the next big competition!
- What choices does a pro gamer need to make?
- Getting started with esports
- Participating in gaming tournaments
- Going pro
- How to be the best gamer?
- The health of a pro
- About pro gamers
What choices does a pro gamer need to make?
To begin you will need to make several choices…
1. Pro gamer or Streamer?
Before Twitch jumped on to the scene there was only one real way you could make a living as a pro gamer and that was by being seriously good. Of course, now that players can post live streams and video clips on YouTube to entertain their audience things have drastically changed.
Both competitive gamers and streamers are regarded as pro’s if they make a living from the industry. So your first choice is to decide which one you want to be, and what you want to focus on. Very few people will be able to juggle both at the same time and be successful due to time constraints.
You will find that a large majority of Twitch streamers such as Shroud, Ninja, Hafu, etc. first started out playing games competitively before eventually moving on to streaming, so that’s also something to keep in mind.
If you have decided you want to be a streamer check out our post here, as this post will focus on how to become a competitive esports gamer.
2. What games do pro gamers play?
|3||Counter-Strike: Global Offensive||$83,600,743.98||12126|
|4||League of legends||$70,729,229.77||6737|
|8||Heroes of the Storm||$18,060,665.92||1200|
|11||Arena of Valor||$11,381,591.95||495|
There are hundreds of competitive games that you can compete in, each one being the equivalent of a different athlete sport. These can include: First-person shooters, Fighting games, Sports games, Real-time strategy, Multiplayer online battle arena, Racing games, amongst a selection of many others.
Multiplayer online battle arena’s (MOBA) are especially popular in the esports world right now, awarding some of the largest prize money amounts to date. Three of the top five games on our list above: Dota 2, Starcraft, and League of legends are all examples of MOBA’s. With gamers accumulating a massive amount of wealth just from this genre.
Most people think of First-person shooters when it comes to tournament gaming, which is also another excellent choice. These are led by the insanely popular Counter-Strike and Halo series, but more recently include titles such as Apex Legends.
So your next choice is to find the game that’s right for you and stick with it. And this means sticking with one game!
Sticking with one game
A pro gamer needs to deeply study a game in order to master it. The most successful tournament players in the world right now are the ones who are completely dedicated to just one game. You don’t see a football player playing baseball and you won’t see that in esports either.
Sixteen-year-old Fortnite Would Cup winner Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, specializes solely in playing fortnight. Similarly, Saahil “Universe” Arora, winner of “The International” tournament, has built a name for himself solely through playing Dota 2.
Sometimes a competitive tournament gamer will change their specialized game once or twice throughout their career, but it’s rare for it to happen any more than that.
3. What gaming console is best for a professional gamer?
The leading, most commonly used console in esports is the personal computer (PC). It is used to play the most popular games in the industry today including Dota 2, Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends, and Starcraft II.
The PC Platform was used in at least 52 of the major esports competitions in 2019. Compared with a handful of competitions played on the Wii U/Switch, and Playstation 4.
This is another thing you will need to take into consideration depending on your chosen game. It’s hard to be a pro gamer if there aren’t many championships so it’s probably wiser to start gaming on the PC. Besides, it’s much easier to connect to the internet and download additional streaming software.
Once you have made all these choices and are familiar with your game; you can move onto the next step.
Getting started with esports
Is esports on the rise?
Esports is still a relatively young industry that is going through an explosive amount of growth. Revenues have surpassed $1.1 billion in 2019, a year-on-year growth of +26.7%. This is forecasted to rise to $1.79 billion by 2020.
‘The highest-grossing individual esports revenue stream worldwide is sponsorship, generating $456.7 million in 2019.’
“The global esports audience will grow to 453.8 million worldwide in 2019, a year-on-year growth of +15.0%. This audience will consist of 201.2 million Esports Enthusiasts (+16.3% year-on-year growth), and 252.6 million Occasional Viewers (+14.0% year-on-year growth).”
Source: Data – newzoo
The right time to join esports
Getting into esports is easier than it has ever been before. This is due to online advancements in infrastructure, and the massive amount of revenue produced by the industry in recent years — helping to generate new programs + facilities.
Gamers over a decade ago would have been socially isolated. But it’s now often common for them to train in groups, supported by their schools and colleges.
Due to the introduction of online gameplay, the sport has progressed tremendously in such a short period of time.
If you’re currently enrolled at one of these colleges – then the opportunity is there to pounce upon to begin any of the new and exciting careers produced by the industry.
How do I start esports?
1. Join a High School esports program
Over 175 Colleges & Universities in the USA offer officially recognized varsity esports programs, as members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).
These programs provide teenage players with the chance to access the same resources as convention athletes, access to scholarships, and the chance to play competitively. Many of them have launched their own esport leagues and regularly contest against other schools during national competitions.
For more info click here
2. Practice at home
Just Like most things, the best way to get something done is by putting in the time and effort. It’s entirely possible to become a pro gamer by grinding at home until your good enough and then enter tournaments online.
3. Go to Gaming Cafés (LAN Gaming Centers)
Gaming cafes have many computers connected over a LAN connection to play multiplayer computer games. Their sizes can vary from as low as 8 computers to over 400.
There are over 650 LAN Centers in the US, so there’s bound to be one near you. Regularly going to gaming cafes will allow you to improve your skills, network with other players and keep you informed with local competitions.
Being involved with a community is going to open a lot of doors, and help with your overall motivation.
Click here to find out more on “the top gaming centers in the US”, and the schedule of tournaments they offer.
4. Join a Gaming Team
A gaming team is a team of players, (just like in other conventional sports), who will compete in an esports league. A team will train together, eat together, and play competitive matches together. The top teams even live in the same house together!
Being surrounded by a team of other guys who are all deep into their gaming is one of the best ways to make it to the top.
Joining paid tournament competitions
How do I participate in a gaming tournaments?
Players can participate in gaming tournaments both online and offline. There are thousands of online tournaments hosted each month where anyone can register to join if they meet the tournament rules. Your local LAN center or college can help to provide more info on offline competitions.
How to join online tournaments:
Click here to get a better understanding of how to participate in the top “esports tournament platforms” online.
Tfue is just one example of a gamer whose popularity exploded through competing in a series of online tournaments. The competitions were hosted by UMG esports platform (which can be found on our list).
At UMG he won four consecutive ‘Friday Fortnite’ weekly tournaments that helped to showcase his talents under the spotlight. In turn, this resulted in him amassing over 1 million subscribers on YouTube in a single month!
The majority of online tournaments can be entered for free or for a small fee. Competitions have an assortment of brackets and ladders allowing players to qualify to the next round.
Players who make it through the first tournament will be invited to join the mid-season tournaments, eventually leading up to the finals.
Prize money on these platforms can range anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars, to a quarter of a million for the largest events.
Twitch and other streaming platforms also regularly host online tournaments. A recent example of this being Twitch Rivals, well-known for paying out generous amounts of prize money.
Currently, these kinds of competitions are only available for “Partner” and “Affiliate” streamers.
“Twitch Rivals is a series of competitive events designed from the ground up for Twitch streamers and viewers”.Twitch
How to join local tournaments
There are multiple ways to join offline tournament competitions, however, they can sometimes be more difficult to find out about depending on where you live, and will require you to get out of the house!
The best way to find out about them is by regularly spending time at a local gaming café or (LAN) gaming center.
Sponsors and advertisers of events target these places by putting up promotional posters. If you get chatting with others then it’s likely that staff or frequent visitors will also be sure to know any details about the next big competition. They may even be hosting the qualifying rounds in the same building.
Another route that you can take to get actively involved is by enquiring to see if your school is part of an esports program, or has their esports league. Some schools in the US take the sport very seriously. If yours is one then this is a golden opportunity not to be missed.
Categories of tournaments:
Almost all tournaments pay-out prize money if you finish in the top 3 places of any given event. Tournaments generally have 3 scales depending on the size of the competition:
Local tournaments – These are likely to be held in a small gaming café nearby. They can hold around 50 players, roughly consisting of 1-3 pros, and can have prizes up to a couple of thousand dollars.
Regional tournaments – This is the next step up. The venue is more likely to be a medium-sized LAN gaming center, and may consist of 100–200 players who live within a 400-mile radius of the event. Payouts for regional tournaments can be anywhere from 4–5 times of that of the local events.
National tournaments – This is the final stage of the tournament competition. They are likely to be held in a large size LAN gaming center, or even a stadium. National tournaments only happen a few times a year and can facilitate anywhere from around 300-600 gamers.
The competition for these events are brutal, often including many foreign professional gamers as well. The prize money is generally only distributed to the top 3 places in the competition, which make it unforgiving to those who come close!
It’s worth noting that if you manage to do well in one of the smaller tournaments, this can sometimes lead to a qualifying place in one of the larger ones as part of the prize. The larger the tournament, the larger the prize, but also the greater number of players who walk away with nothing!
National tournaments are generally sponsored by the developers of the game or other businesses related to the industry.
You can find out about some of the larger national tournaments on the internet, as they tend to generate a lot of press e.g. The Fornite World Cup hosted by Epic games, Dota 2 ‘The International’, and many more.
A full list of the “biggest esports tournaments and leagues” can be found here.
Each national tournament will have its own criteria for you to follow and enter. They may even feature a series of pre-qualifying tournaments that can last anywhere up to 6 months. The top-ranking teams or individuals will receive direct invitations to the main event.
Competitors can play anywhere between 6-10 single-elimination matches each to earn points. Those with the highest point total will then progress to the next round, and so on, in a series of qualifying playoff brackets.
Getting to the final in a major competition is no easy ride, even for the best of the best!
How do you go pro in esports?
Turning pro is all about playing well and getting noticed. Talent scouts regularly attend tournaments on behalf of their sponsors to evaluate promising young players and sign potential future stars to a professional contract.
You may be surprised that scouting exists in gaming, but since the modernization and globalization of the esports economy; it certainly happens.
There’s a lot of wealth to be made in signing up youths that have the potential to become the next big thing, and the competition to search for young talent is extremely keen.
The best young players who are doing well in their college campus esports programs are sometimes scouted while they’re still at school, and can be lined up with an avenue into the industry as soon as they’ve finished.
For others, this journey is not quite so simple — who will have to compete in multiple local and regional tournaments until they finally find some success.
It might seem like quite an impossible task at times, but one good performance in a significant tournament can be all that is needed to get your lucky break. If you stick with it, and see some progress in your results then anything is possible!
How do I join a professional gaming team?
The majority of highly skilled gamers progress from one amateur team to the next, before finally landing a spot on a professional team. When you have the right stature to your name, and have earnt some credibility, the invitations will come through networking.
Both amateurs and pros will have the opportunity to get signed to a pro team; if they are playing at the required level. Of course, it’s also entirely possible for an amateur team to create success for themselves if they put in the practice, attend lots of events, and come out on top!
The path for an amateur team is not so different from a player going solo. To some, it can have the potential to be more fun and considerably less lonely. At the end of the day, everything boils down to winning the match and getting noticed.