Becoming a professional gamer has always seemed like a childish and distant dream, pursuing such a hobby as a genuine career prospect. However, thanks to an immense surge in popularity over the past few years, opportunities are arising to find a way into the world of eSports and eSports teams.
In this article, we’ll explain how to prepare yourself to be an eSports calibre player, how to make or join a team, and how to make it a profitable career choice.
Sound good to you? Stay tuned for everything you need to know!
An eSports team is a collective group of amateur or professional gamers selected to compete against other teams in tournaments, usually for significant cash prizes.
While individual events at eSports can be exciting, with games ranging from FIFA to Street Fighter all having their own thriving communities and competitions, the pure spectacle and emotion of team competition is something else.
That being said, eSports teams can still exist for solo games. Just think of it as individuals representing their individual brands. Resulting in some interesting matchups.
An established eSports team will have a logo and team name to represent – leading to merchandising opportunities. As well as a roster of talented players. Whether they are young and upcoming or more renowned and experienced.
Unfortunately, in terms of joining the eSports scene, it is not considered enough to simply like playing video games.
There are several steps that you should take into consideration when looking to join a pre-existing eSports team. Let’s go into them.
First and foremost, you need to select one game to focus on. It is all well and good being versatile across multiple games and genres, but to fully better your skills to a high level, it is certainly more efficient to focus on only one game.
Just as important as choosing the game you wish to focus on is deciding which platform to play on. Not only are some games exclusive to one console, such as League of Legends to PC, but each platform has a different controller.
This may not appear to be a big deal but each of the varying grips and hand positions that controllers demand can suit different players. For example, Fortnite can be played on a controller, but reactions and control might be better with a PC setup.
It’s an obvious thing to say, but to get good at a game, you need to play it – a lot. You have to be willing to put the hours in if you are expecting to get results out of it.
Watch the pros in action on Twitch or YouTube and instead of just enjoying it as entertainment, keep an eye out for tactics and quirks that help optimise gameplay and learn from them.
This is perhaps the most important step on the journey to eventually joining an eSports team. All the hard work put into improving means nothing if you don’t get your name out there in the gaming community. There are several ways to do this.
You could start a YouTube channel and post videos on there or start streaming on Twitch. The point is that you need to get evidence out there of your skill and gameplay prowess. Not only could this slowly build and lead to a community and following. But this means that your content is now online and could be seen by anyone.
Another way is to consistently search for tournaments that are open to the public. It doesn’t matter if this is all online or in a local capacity. These tournaments are where you can test yourself in a competitive environment while also potentially making contacts and meeting future teammates. Compete in enough of these and it could well open up a path to bigger and better events.
Making something from absolutely nothing can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What takes priority?
At the end of the day, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. But, here are a few things to consider.
As mentioned already, deciding on a game to focus on is important and should come first. It may seem like a logical step to form the team first and then decide on a game, but it is important to have a clear plan and direction from the get-go. This is because the game-chosen may even come to influence aspects of your branding.
Where you are representing is also important. It makes sense to keep everything local at the start to keep costs as low as possible. But, what does that matter if you end up establishing a team in the middle of nowhere with no access to live competitions or events?
Next comes deciding the name and the general look of your team. You may consider yourself a creative soul and think of good eSports team names easily. But, using an online eSports team name generator may come up with a genius combination that you never could.
The name needs to be catchy. Something that players would be proud to represent. You need to let your mind wander and imagine an announcer shouting your team’s name and declaring you the winner of a tournament and decide if it sounds right.
If your team has a unique name, a well-designed and eye-catching eSports team logo, and a professional website, it will be so much easier to develop a team identity and be recognisable in the future.
While the name and logo may seem more important, the website is a vital addition as it gives you more of an online presence than just social media and streaming services. Having your very own website for your team gives you a hub to work from while keeping you in charge of your monetisation.
Twitch and Youtube can be great sources of income for successful teams. But to have a website as well that doesn’t have the same restrictions, is definitely more of a help than a hindrance.
What is a team without any players to compete? When starting from scratch, don’t waste your time trying to contact established professionals and famous streamers, because until you have funding and a bit of renown of your own, it just isn’t going to happen. It can easily just be you and some friends at the beginning.
After all, it could be hard to find several strangers at a similar level to you to join a start-up team. However, the internet exists for a reason and looking to Reddit and social media platforms could be an efficient way of looking for interested players. There are also websites like Seek that help players find teams and vice versa.
If you are in the lucky position of having too many applicants, then try-outs are certainly something to consider. You would be able to control the environment and the competition, and then select the team that you want from the contenders.
Now that you have the brand and the players to represent that brand, you now need to make sure that they have the means to do so. Ensuring your team has appropriate hardware is incredibly important, if you are to stand any chance of making it competitively.
If money is no issue, buying all the equipment for your team is certainly an option. It would create a controlled environment where the team is working at the same optimal level. Furthermore, using the best consoles would surely benefit the players’ gameplay and performance. However, the chances are that as a newly formed team, this is not an option.
If this is the case, the cheapest option is to let your players use their own setups and then communicate via headsets online. Obviously, this could potentially cause problems if each player uses different hardware. If the hardware and internet of each individual player is to a good standard though, this can be a good way to practise.
If you feel that meeting up and training in person is the best course of action, then LAN gaming centres exist. While it would certainly cost a fair amount of money, it would be a good opportunity to practise together in person with good equipment.
It could also be an idea to consider renting a game server. For a monthly fee, your team can have a game server and avoid all those potential lag-issues affecting gameplay and performance. At the end of the day, it makes sense to recreate the conditions of live eSports competitions for optimal practice sessions.
Once you have all the pieces in place, now you just need a place to practise and a schedule to regiment the whole preparation process.
It could start somewhere as small as someone’s house and then expand. The important thing is that you get to practise together and become a proper team.
Building team chemistry can certainly come into play in competitive tournaments. With good communication being key in some games such as Valorant.
Ten years ago, few people believed that playing video games as a competitive professional sport could become a billion-dollar industry. Yet, this is precisely what has happened.
So, how do eSports teams make money? Let’s find out.
For the biggest of professional eSports teams, sponsorship deals are one of the more consistent forms of income. If a company has their name linked in some way to an established and successful team, it benefits all parties.
For a new team however, securing sponsors will be much harder. The main thing to consider is that finding sponsorships for small eSports teams is always going to be competitive. This is because you will not be the only new start-up searching for a sponsor.
Therefore, you need to stand out, you need a unique selling point. Why should a company support you with their money? What do they get from working with you? Whether it’s putting their name on merchandise, in a team name, on an event, or even just plastered all over your website, a sponsor will want their name to be there for all to see.
Once you are registered as a business, you need to establish contacts and try to get that sponsorship deal. An important note to consider is that it is somewhat easier to build a rapport with someone over the phone or in person, rather than via email for example. Finding out when and where eSports networking events or conferences are held could be useful and a good opportunity to approach potential sponsors.
Twitch and YouTube can’t be relied on as a constant source of income, as it depends on the amount and quality of content and how well it is all supported by the community. However, alongside everything else, streaming can certainly help the collective earnings.
Streamers and content creators with a large enough fanbase tend to make a lot of money through subs and donations. This can be considered similar to how a new game developer may start a Kickstarter or Crowdfunder to fund a new project.
Streamers make a lot of money through sponsors, sponsored streams, and adverts. Advertising revenue can also be a good source of income at eSports events. Providing that plenty of advertising has been shown to the live audience or on the streaming services showing the event.
An obvious one, but winning tournaments and events can be very lucrative to a successful eSports team. This doesn’t have to be exclusive to the big names that participate in the big tournaments either.
Chances are that if there is a local tournament, there is going to be a prize in some shape or form. The major eSports championships are well-known to have extortionate prize pools. Therefore, the end-game goal for most teams is to win the big tournaments and get the biggest payday possible.
As mentioned previously, selling merchandise through your website is another way to make money.
The impact it has on overall earnings is very dependent on how well it is advertised or just on your following numbers in general.
All in all, it is a perfect way of getting your logo and brand out there.
For those who may not want to start an eSports team themselves but are still interested in the industry, it is possible to invest in eSports in general or a specific eSports team.
Want to find out more? Then keep reading!
Before considering investing in an eSports team, it is worth noting that investing in gaming companies could be a more accessible option.
There are a number of online brokerage websites where you can easily make an account. Then, you simply put your money in and pick the company you’d want to invest in. This is all while considering which companies are responsible for specific gaming franchises.
Some of the larger eSports teams have been known to get huge levels of support from wealthy investors such as Drake with 100 Thieves. Obviously, not everyone has ludicrous amounts of money to replicate this at every level, but these fancier valuations are usually more prominent in private markets.
However, you can still invest in eSports teams, as long as they’re linked to a public company. For example, there are several eSports teams that belong to pre-existing sporting entities such as Ajax and Borussia Dortmund.
For a long time, it was considered the norm for smaller and newly formed eSports companies to start privately owned and be much less accessible to the public. However, it now seems that due to the boom and growth in popularity and economy within the eSports and gaming industries, more and more companies are starting to publicly list. Allowing for direct buying of shares.
Checking stock markets for your perfect eSports team to invest in is the best way of going about it. If you’re unsure and need some direction, there is always the option of working with stockbrokers or wealth and investment experts to find the right option for you.
With everything covered in this article, you should have what you need to try and better your gaming ability and become a part of the ever-growing eSports industry.
Just remember that nothing comes free and if it were an easy process, then millions more people would be pursuing it every day. It’s time to get started. Good luck!
We hope that you enjoyed this article! Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more articles on our blog? We recommend, Game Designer Guide: How To Become A Video Game Designer and What Musicians Can Learn From The Video Game Industry to get you started!
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