How to Become a Professional Esports Player [2020 Updated]
Are you good at playing games, and would like to make a living from it?
I’m sorry, but the chances of becoming a Pro Gamer are slim… At least they are if you follow the wrong path everyone points out to.
I’m here to let you know how to do it. And it’s not exactly what you expect it to be.
Is it possible to Become a Pro Gamer?
It is possible. But I won’t guarantee you will.
First of all, you’ll have to do it for the right reasons.
Are you looking for quick cash and fame? You probably won’t stand a chance.
And it’s not because I say so, but negative reasoning leads to destructive habits.
That’s with traditional sports, studies, and careers, as it is with eSports.
On the other hand, probabilities will stand in your favor when you love what you do, and support others.
Just envision yourself as one of amassed success. What is what you like the most from it?
Is it aligned with these positive driving forces?
Because you’ll need more than skills to stand out from the pool.
How are Pro Gamers so Good
There are several “secrets” pro gamers don’t share with the public.
Hopefully, you’ll notice a pattern in many professionals. They might come from different locations, but all of them share at least one thing in particular:
Pro players focus only on one platform, one genre, and one game.
- Platform: Fortunately for you, there’s not a device that holds the market alone.
Do you enjoy playing on consoles, mobile, or PC the most?
Which one have you used more frequently in your life?
- Genre: Worldwide events are hosted for every type of game you can imagine.
Pick the one that you enjoy the most and can dedicate more hours to practice.
- Game: Pick one and outperform everyone else who plays it.
Sticking to it is contrary to being a jack-of-all-trades and a master to none.
This game should preferably be one that you love, to prevent boredom after spending so much time in front of a screen.
That’s how Pro Gamers start their career. From now on, is mostly spent practicing.
How many hours do Esports Players practice?
There’s not an exact answer. But there’s an estimate.
The Average Practice Time for Esport Players is around 7-9 hours/day, 50 hours/week.
This includes gameplay, team talk, and other relevant activities.
Of course, you must take some spare-time. If you ask your body too much, it will burn out and backfire with injuries.
It’s up to you and your teammates to decide whether you practice in the morning, afternoon, or night time. Each player has its own workflow style and schedule.
Yes. A schedule.
You don’t need military-like discipline, but the more you control your time, the better your performance will be. This is mostly due to consistency.
Take this one from Lynnie “artStar” Noquez (CS:GO Pro) as an example:
- I wake up around 11:00 AM and reply to all my work emails. Then I get ready around 12-1 PM, cook lunch with my fiancé, or sometimes eat with his family.
- My afternoons are spent doing whatever I need to get done that day, whether it’s running errands, cleaning the house, prepping dinner, or if I’m lucky and did all that on a different day, I usually spend time with family and friends.
- I do all of this until around 5:00 PM, and that’s when I start individual Counter-Strike* practice. I’ll watch a demo, review my nades, play some pugs, or stream on Twitch*.
- Around 7:00 PM, team practice with Dignitas* begins. We take a short break in the middle of practice for dinner then end practice around 11:00 PM.
- Right after practice, I usually head straight to bed and repeat the next day for 5 days a week!
If you want to make this happen, you need a schedule.
You could test doing your own now, and start visualizing how would it fit your routine:
As mentioned, all those hours aren’t just for playing. Pro Players must dedicate part of it to learn strategies, tips, and techniques to optimize the current meta.
You can find thousands of guides and tutorials online to improve on specific games.
Watching videos, streams, and interviews from esports elites can also provide you golden nuggets that you would hardly find on your own.
Even take it to the next step and network with other Pro Gamers to swap ideas (more on that later).
You’ll be surprised by how fast you get better playing that one game in particular.
Of course, there’s an extra shortcut: hiring a coach. There are online marketplaces to find the right one to improve your playstyle in ways you didn’t think it was possible.
If things get too hard up to this point, Gamer One, aka G1, is the right platform to get seen.
You can give it a test one (the beta is officially out!).
Alternatively, Discord servers, subreddits, and Steam groups can serve as a place to meet and play alongside others.
You can either network randomly or with purpose in mind. Here’s where the Dream 100 strategy comes in handy to connect with quality over quantity.
You might be looking for…
Teammates to practice and form a brand new organization.
Team leaders/owners that might recruit you after seeing your value.
Influencers capable of connecting you with the previous two.
Of course, it’s reasonable to get excited by the momentum.
But all in excess is bad, right?
Excluding healthy activities, nutrition, and social life from your routine also excludes motivation sooner or later.
Indeed, young players think that a never-stopping hustling mentality will get the most tournaments wins… But actually, esports experts support the contrary.
Is there an Age Limit for Esports?
3,300 Starcraft 2 pro players were studied. The results showed that peak performance is often achieved at 24 years old. This is the average age when most professionals retire. After that, their “looking-down latency” slows down.
Of course, some defy the average mark.
On the other hand, major eSports competitions tend to limit entry age up to 17 years old. Even when most teen participants have been playing for a long time.
Why would someone retire from the esports scene after achieving success?
It depends on each individual.
In most cases, it is because making a living from it is often unsustainable.
How much do Esports Players Make?
Sources say esports salaries are around $3,000 to $5,000/month…Which is enough to start.
Then, if you “get gud” and get known, these numbers may scale to the thousands or even hundreds of thousands. But it’s too hard to talk to everyone.
Quitting 9 to 5 and becoming a pro gamer might be the dream.
Just be aware of one thing in particular: If you ever become a big-league professional esports player, don’t forget that you won’t have this forever.
Invest it smartly in tools that can leverage your career.
PC gamers should invest in a machine with great specs, capable of avoiding lag. Also, an optimally precise mouse and a 144Hz monitor with 1 millisecond response time to have Faker-like reflexes (they will guarantee you great spots on high-class teams).
Now that I mention him, the Salary of Faker (“The Unkillable Demon King”) is among the highest known, at least in the League of Legends scene.
According to Wikipedia, Faker has won more than $1 Million in tournament prizes.
Does it mean Faker is the richest gamer? Not even close.
Funny enough, he’s only ranked as the #64 cash-earner in overall esports competition.
Then… Is “Ninja” (Tyler Belvins) the richest gamer? Probably not, but he gets close.
Although the net worth of “The King of Twitch” is over $20 million, he has stated he wants to be the first that gets $10 million per year playing video games.
As you can see, a salary could hardly reach what these two make.
This is why Pro Players leverage income in 3 other ways:
- Winning Tournaments – Start small within local competitions nearby or look for some online tournaments sites, International events should stay on your radar for bigger prize pools later on.
- Getting Sponsored – Esport players also promote brands, all the time. They pay well for using some merch you would use otherwise, even if not charging for it.
- Media Rights, Merch, and Tickets – Media rights represent a $251 million section of the eSports market revenue, and both merch and tickets hold $103 million.
Competitive players aren’t cashing alone in the esports industry. Casters, Coaches, Team Owners, and Investors are also part of this group.
What group will you be part of?
Before you start to become a professional esports player… Try setting up goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
This is what we call SMART goals.
- Specific: Don’t be vague. Make it as detailed as possible.
- Measurable – Is there any way to measure this goal? (Levels, XP, KDA, Wins…).
- Attainable – Is this goal even possible? It’s good to aim high… But keep it realistic to not be disappointed when things don’t go as planned.
- Relevant – Why is this relevant to you? And how does it relate to the specific goal you want to achieve?
- Time-bound – Time limits lead to urgency, which will make you move fast and make things happen. Set up a yearly, monthly, weekly, and/or daily deadline.
Have you thought about it?
They won’t tell you if you can or cannot become a Pro. But can give you a starting point.
Your Future with Esports
It looks easy shown this way.
That’s because becoming a professional esports player doesn’t have to be that hard.
Between the constant grinding (hours of practice, logistics, and networking), there’s also an active life to be added.
How can a person even keep up to that for months? Hell, for years!?
You don’t need an excuse to play more. But you can make use of a helping hand.
That’s precisely what G1 (Gamer One) is. What do you say?
Join the BETA for free, and starting today, get a competitive advantage over your competition!
Sports Practitioner. Esports Marketer. Marco is the Founder of DFY Gaming and gaming.pink. He types for a living but writes awfully on pen and paper.