For a good portion of my life, I have always stuck to the notion that gaming was merely a hobby, a fun way to pass the time. That was until I started dating someone who has such an envious passion for gaming when I started to, but stubbornly, shift my views.
What Are Esports?
Esports athletes have to train just as much as traditional athletes would have to train. It’s well known in the esports community that gamers, pros or not, who are a part of a team—would have to scrim and can last for up to 10-12 hours a day.
A pro or competitive team will decide to participate in games that are meant for competing and go against other competitive teams as practice. This way, scrims allow teams to test out, study, and/or analyze opponents’ play styles (or their own), discuss different strategies, etc. They do this to find and point out any weaknesses. It’s ideal to do this prior to an official match, where there’s less room for error. It’s a system for teams to work together to see what fits for a certain match, what doesn’t, or find areas that need improvement. Similarly, like any other sports — esports teams still have a coach that helps and instructs players through practices. Michael Artress, Team Liquid’s League of Legends manager, emphasizes this harsh training regimen, he claims: “You try sitting in front of a computer for anywhere from 10-15 hours straight, doing the same thing over and over again, trying to improve on that craft, and let’s see how you handle it after nine weeks straight, it’s actually a lot harder than people think.“
The Process, Benefits, Opportunities
In approximately the past 6 years, Esports have shown a considerable amount of time and effort into their craft. It takes real skill and genuine drive to be a professional in the gaming community. There are many types of tournament formats (which I am not well versed in, however here is a useful article explaining them). They start with knockout stages, in which they play a certain number of games that allow people to qualify for the championships that are based on their country. For example, League of Legends, LCS is the (League Championship Series) where teams play to find their seeding (1st-8th) and play qualifying matches (best of 3 or 5) until they get the top 3 teams that survive, who are to play at the world championships.
Ultimately, every region has its own league. All these leagues have a money prize pool for the teams that place top 6 or higher. In terms of players, there are player recruitment times where players’ contracts are then available to re-sign with the organization or be put on as a free agent for any team to pick up. Players are able to be bought out from teams only if the organization allows them to and is not conflicting with the contract. They are also put on a yearly based salary, as most athletes are. Organizations have now established training facilities within California, closest to the LCS studio where they go and play. The training facilities have the best gaming setups players would want as per their request, in addition to catering, gym, nutritionists, and personal trainers.
However, a therapist is also a service provided because some games are mentally threatening as the player base could be very harmful to one’s mental health. Nonetheless, lazing around on a couch or watching movies all day would get you nowhere in competitive gaming. It is common for professional gamers to be on teams or different organizations. Therefore, this means they reside in a house with other gamers or frequently practice at a training facility or facilities. It would be easier for a team to live together because they will create bonds and hone their team-building skills. As a result that, it also makes their practises/scrims process easier.
Can you make a living by playing video games?
Overall, there are five sources of income for professional gamers: prize money, salaries, sponsorships, live-streaming, and video-on-demand content. But, yes, if you are willing to put the work in. Although, it is very rare to see immediate success. Only five gamers are millionaires, only 176 players earning six figures, and only 324 gamers who make between $38K-$99K/year (around $60K as an average). Gaming is a fast-growing industry, and their revenues increase by 9%+/year. An article by roundhouse investments states that “[b]y 2022 the global video game market is expected to surpass $190 billion in revenues. According to Newzoo, esports revenues were $856 million in 2018 and are expected to grow to $1.79 billion by 2022. These numbers include media rights, merchandise and ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, and game publisher fees.”
What does it mean to be a gamer?
Defining someone as a gamer is very vague; it can be just as simple or complicated when calling someone a sports fan, a reader, or even a foodie. Gamers were made as passionate individuals with a smidge of logical thinking and reasoning. However, professionals are the ones who flourish, especially in competing, and are gamers because of the community they can fall behind. For some, they are gamers who enjoy involving themselves in a story, a journey for themselves, or specific gameplay instead of waiting for someone else to do it for them.