E-Sports Professionals


Exploring this Job

There are many ways to learn more about e-sports. You should begin by watching as many e-sports competitions as possible and, of course, playing games. Try to find the one or two games that you most enjoy, are best at, and do not get tired of easily and focus on playing these games to develop your skills. Participate in online gaming competitions. A list of contests is available at the National E-sports Association’s Web site, https://www.nea.gg/upcoming-events. Attend and eventually begin participating in in-person gaming competitions in your area. This will allow you to meet semi-professional and professional gamers, some of whom may be willing to give you advice on breaking into the field. Join high school and college gaming clubs. If your college offers e-sports as an intramural or varsity sport, try to join the team.

The Job

E-sports professionals are not just game players, but experts in the games they play. They have played and practiced so much—and also have been blessed by being born with exceptional hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity—that they are simply better than 99.9 percent of other gamers. They are the best of the best, and this talent allows them to be paid to play games and earn massive cash prizes for winning tournaments.

E-sports professionals may compete as solo performers or they may start or join professional teams that compete against other teams in games such as Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Overwatch. Whether solo or a member of a team, they spend anywhere from six to 14 or more hours a day playing video games, scrimmaging against other top gamers, watching other professional gamers, researching game strategies, and trying to find any possible competitive advantage that will help them win more tournaments and cash prizes.

Lifestyle gamers are another category of e-sports professional. They are either very successful e-sports gamers or very talented gamers who are born entertainers who stream their content online and earn money from donations, advertising, affiliate income, and other methods. The top lifestyle gamers are compelling to watch, and have fan bases in the millions on digital channels such as YouTube, live-streaming services such as Twitch, and other online platforms.

In addition to actual competitive gaming, e-sports professionals must spend a lot of time developing and maintaining their brands in order to grow their popularity and revenue. In addition to prize earnings, e-sports professionals earn significant revenue from personal corporate sponsorships, Twitch streams, appearance fees, product endorsements, merchandise sales, and creator codes (special codes that fans can use when they make in-game purchases and for which gamers receive a percentage of sales). To raise their profiles, they spend a lot of time developing their social media pages, interacting with fans, and otherwise promoting themselves. Some gamers say the branding aspect of their careers is like a second job. Becoming an e-sports professional is fun and often lucrative, but it also involves a massive amount of time and dedication to reach the top—and stay there.