5 tips from top professional gamers: how to turn your hobby into a profitable career

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GoExplore.net, a best-of-the-web curation website from ESET, takes a serious look at an emerging online ‘sport’: pro gaming. GoExplore.net collated the top five pieces of advice for those interesting in trying their hand at becoming a pro-gamer.

With more than five players having earned more than $1 million USD each in the past two years, the industry is growing quickly, attracting new sponsors, audiences and gaming talent.

For example, Evil Geniuses, a leading new media agency which specialises in contracting pro gamers, appointed Peter ‘PPD’ Dager, aged 21, as the captain of at the recent Dota 2’s Invitational gaming event. PPD was awarded a third place title at the event, banking $1 million USD for this team.

“People think it’s just a game,” says Dager. “They do not understand how much work myself and others like me put into it. They think my life is easy when in reality it’s actually stressful. On an average day, I usually game five to ten hours.” But the time to make a mark is limited. Many gamers are known to ‘burn out’ by age 25. Top players are still largely based in Asia. Competing against South Korean teams can be daunting as teams often live together, like Olympic atheletes, practicing for up to 12 hours per day.

Opportunities in this global industry are not only limited to gaming. Casting players, managing teams, and sponsoring events are also viable roles for those who want to get involved in the industry. Gregg Baker, Head of Community at giffgaff, a UK-based mobile network, is launching League of Legends tournaments in the UK. “If you are the best at your game and it happens to be a very popular one, then life-changing amounts of money can be earned,” says Baker. “The best teams in the world compete for multimillion prize pots in South Korea and elsewhere. Add to this sponsorships – one of the UK’s best teams, Team Dignitas, is sponsored by Intel – and you can soon start earning a salary of up to $1m a year if you are at the top of your tree.”

So, what does it take to be a pro-gamer? Check out our top 5 tips collated from pro gamers:

1. ATTITUDE IS KEY
When you’re playing with pro players, put your best self forward. Try hard, communicate well, and show critical thinking. If you’re playing consistently with pro players in games, you’ll develop a reputation. Your best chance of being recognised is if they think highly of you.

2. SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE
Being a pro player is more of a lifestyle than an occupation. You’ll have a practice schedule, sponsor obligations, and may even be required to move to live in a team house. Be prepared to give it your all if this is truly your desired profession.

 3. FOCUS ON YOURSELF, NOT OTHERS
The best of the best will always rise to the top. Always look to how you can improve yourself to get better. You can’t control your teammates’ actions. The best of the best are always hyper-focused on how they can improve, not blaming others for their mistakes.

4. BE PREPARED FOR A MENTAL SHIFT
It’s very different to play the game as a release from responsibilities as opposed to it being your main responsibility. Lots of pro players can burn out because of this. If you want to be around for a while, make sure you understand that this is like working 60-80 hours per week.

5. LEARN FROM THE BEST
Study those who are already at that level. Study the top players and analyse what they do that separates them from the rest. An understanding of this and how to incorporate it into your own play is essential.

For more details and advice, visit GoExplore.net, which was recently nominated for the prestigious CMA award in the category entitled Best Non-Retail Consumer, and read PRO GAMING: THE WORLD’S BEST GAMERS ON HOW TO TURN YOUR HOBBY INTO A MILLION DOLLAR CAREER.


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