Professional Gamer Salary

Video games have an overall audience of 2 billion people worldwide, with around 450 million of those being esports fans. As you might expect, both industries are growing, but especially esports, which is increasing at a pace of around 20-25% per year and has surpassed the one billion dollar mark in yearly revenues. This means that there’s a lot of opportunity to become a professional.

Pro Gamer Salary

Gamer salaries are getting larger each year, and can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in the top teams.

Professional-Gamer-Salary
Dean Drobot/123RF

Some streamers make very little money, while others make millions. Some pro gamers can make very large amounts in salaries, sponsorship deals, and tournament prizes as well. It all depends on how good you are at what you do, whether it’s competing professionally or entertaining via streaming or other forms of content.

Tournament Prize Pools

One of the most impressive things about esports in today’s world is the tournament prize pools. In order to gain access to them you need to be in one of the top 16-25 teams for big events, 30-50 for smaller events, or 50-100 for even smaller events. There are many different types of online tournaments in every kind of esport, so if you become good enough to start finishing in the top three in tiny online competitions, you will have plenty of chances to make money.
The biggest tournament prize pools in esports are in games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Fortnite, CS:GO and Overwatch. In Dota 2, a Dota Pro Circuit Minor is worth $300,000, while a Major offers $1 million in prize money. The International, which is the Dota 2 World Championship, offered over $34 million in 2019. In League of Legends, the World Championship was also in the millions, with a minimum guaranteed amount of $2.2 million. Fortnite offered over $30 million for the first World Championship. CS:GO events usually have prize pools of $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 – $700,000 or $1 million (Majors). In Overwatch, The Overwatch League (OWL) has a prize pool of $5 million.
When it comes to total revenues made from tournaments alone, the top 80 esports athletes are all millionaires. The highest amount is $6.8 million and belongs to N0tail, a Dota 2 player who won The International twice with OG, as well as multiple Dota 2 Majors.

Competing or Entertaining

Becoming a pro gamer actually starts with one question: Do you want to compete or do you want to entertain?

Competing

If you want to compete professionally in a particular esport and join a team, then you need to get very good at it. The first stage of this process involves studying and playing the game until you understand it well enough to reach the top league at the amateur level. But that’s just the beginning.
The second phase of this process requires you to start competing professionally with small teams and learn what it takes to succeed at that level. Very often, a professional player’s ability is way above an amateur’s ability, even one who’s playing pub games in the top league.
If you’re a Global Elite in CS:GO, almost everyone from the top 100 CS:GO teams will probably have an understanding of the game that’s much deeper than yours. Play for a few years and try to understand what the best players do differently, if you want a chance against them.
Globally, if your chosen game has millions of players, the number of masters will be in the tens of thousands. To have a good shot at becoming a pro gamer, you need to be in the top 500 (realistically) or at least 1000.

Entertaining

If you’ve tried your best to compete professionally and failed to become good enough to participate in significant events, there’s more than one way to be involved. The skills you’ve developed can be put to use to entertain others as a streamer, coach aspiring players (either in person or through your content), analyze the game as a pundit, and so on. There are plenty of esports jobs and esports careers that require excellent gaming skills, so what you’ve learned will not go to waste.
When trying to figure out how to become a pro gamer and what the pro gamer salary would be, you always need to consider multiple revenue streams. After all, not every professional gamer is someone who competes in top tournaments and is part of a team. If you amass any kind of following, you can get sponsorship deals and partnerships from other companies that do business in esports. Or, if you want to stream your games and teach or entertain people, the most basic subscription on Twitch.tv is $4.99 per month. Get enough subscribers and your dream of becoming a pro gamer will be a reality.

Radu Muresan

Radu Muresan

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