The average amount of time spent gaming by players can vary wildly. Whilst some casual enthusiasts may only be willing (or able) to put aside five hours a week for gaming, others may be comfortable spending a similar amount of time playing per day. For dedicated eSports professionals, spending up to 14 hours a day whilst living in a dedicated gaming team house is not unheard of.
PC gaming continues to grow from strength to strength in 2018. Investments in the year so far exceed $2 billion, with the player-base of three of eSports’ most popular titles (CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2) exceeding 400 million players. Despite the industry becoming ever more lucrative, the majority of players remain unable to benefit from eSports’ growth, especially those wishing to make money from gaming.
How do eSports professionals earn?
As a general rule, eSports professionals can expect to earn from eSports via a number of different avenues:
Regular salary: Some eSports professionals derive their livelihoods solely from gaming, and those capable of playing at the highest level can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year representing an official gaming team across a variety of titles. – Advertising contracts: As players increase in skill and popularity, they can attract sponsorship opportunities a variety of companies wishing to advertise their services or products. eSports professionals will often endorse particular keyboards, headsets, mice, and other peripherals made by specific companies, such as SteelSeries, Razor, Sennheiser, and others. Certain titles may attract whole-team sponsorships, with every player being sponsored by the same company. However, the full financial extent of these sponsorships are not usually disclosed.
Streaming: For some successful players, streaming can be a way to either build a ‘down-time’ audience between major competitions, increase their exposure in order to attract greater sponsorship opportunities, or simply to increase or otherwise supplement their income. Streaming also allows players to earn via subscriptions and donations from dedicated viewers, with donations of up to tens of thousands of dollars being made.
Competition: For eSports professionals, competitions are very much the bread and butter of their livelihoods, offering an opportunity to showcase and develop their skills, gain exposure to audiences and advertisers, and to win shares of prize pools. Most titles have several major league systems and tournaments throughout the year, with showcase tournaments such as Starcraft 2’s WCS Global Finals held at Blizzcon, or Valve’s The International Dota 2 tournament, which this year will offer a prize pool exceeding $20 million dollars. Participation in and quality of performance at competitions of this level play a major role in determining the future and earnings potential of teams and players.
How can players become eSports professionals?
Whilst the heights of eSports may seem increasingly unattainable for the average player, eSports itself remains unique in possessing relatively low barriers to entry compared to traditional sports. While professional players may be fortunate enough to have the time to dedicate themselves entirely to gaming, the equipment they use and the games they play are nearly always available to amateur gamers, allowing amateurs to experience their favourite titles in nearly the exactly same way as their favourite players. However, as is often the case with professional athletes, the success and triumph of players is often the focus of attention, instead of the hard work and sacrifices players often make in order to compete at the level they do. For example, whilst many Dota players may be envious of Pakistani player Sumail’s success in The International in 2015 at the age of just 15, fewer may be aware of his struggles with video-game addiction since a young age.
However, by analysing the habits and histories of eSports professionals, we can distinguish a number of common traits and attributes:
- Self-assessment and development of game skills. It should go without saying that practice makes up a significant portion of an eSports professional’s time. However, as with any endeavour, simply spending time practising is often not enough to facilitate improvement. What can set professionals and amateurs apart in particular is the way in which they train. Where an amateur might simply dedicate some time to studying the fundamentals of a game or focusing on a particular weak-point, professionals will often go out of their way to identify the key skills necessary for success in a given title, then develop specific training methods to hone these skills. High-level CS:GO players, for example, will focus on developing their accuracy, reaction time, and aiming speed, whilst MOBA gamers will take time to memorise specific build orders, map orientations, and character attributes in order to cement their knowledge. In order to train these attributes, professionals will often play against bots or utilise specific resources designed to target particular skills, such as https://aim400kg.ru/
- Game analysis and performance reviews. One of the few unsurpassable divides between professional and amateur players is the ability to learn and observe. Where amateur players may struggle to identify the reasons behind a loss and chalk it up to their opponent’s superior skill, professional players take time to recognise their own weaknesses in conjunction with their opponent’s strengths when examining wins and losses, both their own and others’. For example, some Asian teams have adopted the practice of spectating public games in order to identify the behaviours and decision-making of random players in order to improve their ability to analyse situations. At the highest levels of competition, this involves examining replays of prominent players’ matches, analysing their abilities, and developing counter-measure tailored to individual opponents. –
- Playing as part of a team. Individual skill accounts for a significant proportion of a player’s success. However, with the largest eSports titles typically being team-based, the ability to perform as part of a team is often more important than the ability to perform as an individual. Professionals develop dedicated team tactics, design standard and non-standard positioning schemes, and allocate specific roles for each team member. Though the ability to play with skill and flair is often that most desired by amateurs, the ability to effectively carry out supporting roles is often more important amongst professional teams.
- Developing a healthy work/life balance. Though it can be tempting to glamorise the lifestyle of professional gamers, it is important to acknowledge the sacrifices that such a career often demands. By the time players reach selection for a competition, many more will have already been ‘cut’ by external factors such as fatigue from over-practicing, financial issues, and failing to establish a healthy work/life balance. Amateur players who attempt to replicate the training schedules of professionals often experience some level of burnout, as do professionals still finding their feet.
The decision to pursue an eSports is not an easy one. Despite its impressive growth and potential, the industry remains in its infancy, and offers little assurance to aspiring eSports professionals of success or stability. Players must also be capable of acquiring and honing a broad set of skills, and be willing to make sacrifices unheard of in other, more conventional industries. Even the most skilled and dedicated professionals can suffer from burnout, making the prospect of becoming an eSports professional just that more daunting.
Is there an alternative?
Fortunately, for those seeking to get more out of gaming than a simple hobby, alternatives exist which allow gamers to gain some of the experience, and reward, of playing at the professional level. Streaming is now commonplace, and is arguably dominated by amateurs rather than professionals, though similar challenges remain in making a living from streaming.
Cybercube, a universal gaming platform powered by blockchain technology, aims to be a more permanent, and effective, solution. By combining a variety of services, including betting, broadcasting, and in-game item auctioneering, Cybercube will allow players to profit from their skills across a number of eSports titles, such as CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota 2. By utilising an internal cryptocurrency, Clickcoin, Cybercube will enable players to quickly and easily win prizes by challenging other players, participating in player-created tournaments, and trade in-game and real world items, all of which can be conveniently be moved between Clickcoin, external cryptocurrency wallets, and fiat accounts. In addition to hosting show matches between big-name players and offering betting services for these and other such events, Cybercube aims to give casual and amateur players the opportunity to monetise their hobby and experience a taste of the eSports profession.