Games Business

Professional Gamer Guide: How To Become A Professional Gamer

Photograph of the blog post author, Tom Steel

Tom Steel

17.5.2021

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Getting money for doing something you love and enjoy has always seemed somewhat unattainable and unrealistic. While being a professional gamer seems fun, doing something you love for a living is testing. This is mainly due to the fact that you must balance your love for it with the discipline required to do it professionally. The important thing to note is that if you have the mentality and commitment, you can make your dream a legitimately attainable goal. This is, of course, all true in the realm of video gaming and becoming a pro gamer.

how to become a professional gamer

In this article, we’ll explain what being a professional gamer actually entails beyond just playing games, how to become a pro gamer yourself, and how well it pays.

Sound good to you? Stay tuned for everything you need to know!

What Is A Professional Gamer?

pro gamer playing a game on pc

This might seem obvious enough, but a professional gamer is a full-time competitive player who is ultimately paid to play video games to a high level of standard.

Most professional players are paid by sponsors and their teams to play in the biggest eSports tournaments on a global scale. There are additional incentives for everyone such as large prize pay-outs. Big monetary payouts are a normal occurrence for big eSports events or another gaming event.

The title of a professional video gamer may seem like this unattainable thing. It certainly has generated that stigma over the years. But equally, with the rise in popularity and success of eSports over the past few years, it is a real and viable career choice.

What Does A Professional Gamer Do?

esports comeptition with professional gamers

So, what does a professional gamer do? If you thought it was just getting paid to play games, you would be right but also wrong. The general idea of being a pro gamer is indeed to participate in tournaments, with the level generally varying depending on standing within the industry. 

However, plenty has to go in behind the scenes to maintain such a status. This includes things beyond just playing the games to a high standard. Getting your name out there and generating a reputation can help to extend a sense of longevity.

But, it all comes down to how much you want it, and how much you want to sustain this lifestyle. Ensuring that you can cope with all the competition, both physically and mentally is of vital importance.

The overall aim for a professional gamer looking to fully achieve pro status is to be winning tournaments and achieve that big sponsorship deal. This is where the branding and big money is within pro gaming. It’s what all the hard work is in aid of.

How To Become A Professional Gamer & Get Paid

There are many things to consider when trying to become a professional gamer as it isn’t simply a title you can give to yourself, it has to be earned and justified.

There are many steps you have to consider before you can even think about getting paid for playing games. Let’s get into the first one.

What Motivates You?

gamer at an esports event

Why are you wanting to become a professional gamer? Do you believe you can succeed and make it a legitimate achievable goal? These are questions that you must answer yourself, no instruction manual or guidance article can decide these for you. 

However, your reason for wanting to become a professional gamer must be something grounded and along the lines of being passionate for games, having a love for competition, or something like learning to grow as a part of a cohesive team.

Having desires for fame and fortune from the get-go are more likely to be detrimental to the whole process and could even disrupt your mentality before your journey has even begun.

Pick Your Specific Game

csgo esports event

Once you have your mentality and motivations set you need to decide what game you want to focus on. This allows you to better yourself in this field and eventually become a pro in it.

You could have prior knowledge of what games you excel at; you may well be better at racing games than FPS games, or RTS than sport games. 

Combining a passion for a genre with an appropriate skill set, such as quick reactions or good control with a certain level of mouse sensitivity, can certainly be good grounds to build on and improve.

If you have a quick trigger finger, you will find you are better off playing FPS games such as Call Of Duty or Counter Strike Global Offensive. If you are able to memorise combos and have cat-like reflexes, then fighting games are your best bet. And so on.

Gear Up & Prepare

cool gaming set up

In order to get the most out of your practice, you must ensure you have the best gear possible, although obviously within reason. If you can’t afford the best quality gear, you need to at least get the best value for money. 

Regardless, it would certainly make sense to invest in a mouse, keyboard etc. These would be used in an eSports environment and therefore be better practiced at competition-level gaming. This excludes the environment and atmosphere itself of course!

The Internet Is Your Friend, Sometimes

professional gamer lifestyle

Using the internet to research and gather information from the community regarding pro gaming should be considered almost as valuable as the actual application and learning of the gaming skills.

Finding out details from people who have already achieved or failed in what you are aiming for, is always useful, and anything helpful that you learn can be added to your training and your path to achieving your goal.

Alternatively, it could also help you realise that this journey isn’t for you before you get too heavily invested. Strategies, tactics, and the general best ways to play a game are often discussed online. These are throughout forums, message boards, YouTube channels, and much more. 

The online gaming communities can give you a push in a certain direction. Or, at the very least, give you a spark of inspiration to build your training and practice around.  

Practice Makes Perfect

esports event with pro gamer

Practice certainly does make perfect. Replaying a game over and over again in order to find perfect strategies or loadouts suited to your play style. Through practicing and training is where you will find the basis for your identity within the professional gaming itself.

We recommend putting in as many hours a day as is humanly possible whilst maintaining a healthy balance!

It is okay to fail when training as it helps you understand where you need to improve or change completely. Since the stakes are non-existent, you can improve comfortably and you can adapt. This means you won’t make mistakes when it really matters. This is where it counts, making a winning competitive mindset.

Climbing That Ladder

fortnite victory royale

To get to a level to even be able to consider yourself a pro gamer, you must test yourself to improve and be able to see physical results. Matchmaking and participating in ranked competition online is pivotal in finding your feet and general level in the vast ocean that is competitive gaming

Achieving a respected and coveted rank, such as Immortal or Radiant in Valorant as an example, allows opposing players to appreciate and respect how good you are at the game. Providing you back it up in the actual matchup of course!

You must take any and every chance you get to get your name tied to something. This could also involve registering high-scores on leaderboards for the world to see.

In CS:GO, a player will normally start with public games. Eventually, they will progress through matchmaking and then going on to participate in leagues and tournaments. While this will vary across all eSports games, the premise is the same every time.

Streaming

twitch streaming youtube streaming

Streaming is an important source of income for a professional gamer. Additionally, it could be what catapults you towards pro status in the first place. Even if it is only being watched by 5 people rather than 500 or 5000, having an online space where your content can be viewed.

It is essential when growing a community and building a repertoire with the aim of eventually joining a team. They need to be able to see what you can do. 

This could also generate your own Twitch or YouTube following. However, this depends on how the content is received and get your name out there. Obviously, there is a big difference between pure entertainment and an eSports standard of gaming, but the potential mixture of the two is sure to turn heads. 

Finding & Joining A Team

esports teams cloud 9 faze

Exhibiting exceptional skill and talent in well-renowned tournaments can be a perfect way to get scouted for team. However, a more realistic approach would be to focus on building your reputation as a serious competitor before searching for a team yourself. 

Teamfind is an example of a website that has all the tools to help players find the team that’s right for them. A good reputation and working well with others are two of many attributes that will stand you in good stead when attempting to join a team.

For some help on how to get a team together, check out Our Guide On How To Make An eSports Team.

Making Connections To Further Yourself

2 player playstation players

It’s acceptable to be selfish in some cases. Making a name for yourself within competitive gaming is not always enough. But, if you can get to a level where you are given opportunities to play against better and more established players, you need to accept and prove your worth in these tougher situations. 

Proving yourself as a good opponent to the best players, beyond pride, is always a good thing. It could be a perfect way to get future invites or at the very least make contacts to get advice.

Stay Balanced, Live Like A Pro

gamer drinking energy drink while playing

Many people think that as a pro player, you have to be in front of screens for most of the day, every day. This is certainly not the case.

Sure, you need to grind at a game to get to a professional level. But balancing practice and competition with proper nutrition, exercise, and active social life is the best way to help mental focus and prevent burning out. 

Gaming gets a bad reputation regarding its effect on health. In spite of this, if a good balance is found, it is easy to do plenty of gaming without it being a detriment to your health.

Make sure that your time spent training and focus on the gaming aspect that is actually relevant. Not just playing a game for the sake of it. This is the best way to allow for improvement. Expanding your knowledge of the game or developing social games if it’s a game that requires team communication are examples of this.

Professional Gamer Salary

optic winning cod xp

While eSports events and tournaments are notorious for giving substantial cash prizes, it’s important to not consider this when looking at a pro gamer’s salary. This is due to the fact that it isn’t a fixed guaranteed income. It would only increase the disappointment that comes with failure. 

The average professional gamer who is part of a team could be looking at around $4,000 a month. In theory, this equates to a $48,000 salary. 

This is circumstantial and not accounting for tournament prize money. Also, it doesn’t count any additional earning opportunities that come with the title of being a pro gamer, the main one being streaming.

A pro player’s reputation, standing and popularity can vary enormously and in turn the number of followers and thus income would also vary from player to player.

While content creators across Twitch and YouTube vary in their origins, with some excelling more in the entertainment side of things, there have been many personalities that were initially pro-gamers before generating staggering wealth and renown thanks to streaming.

That Was Our Guide On How To Become A Professional Gamer

professional gamers lifting a trophy

With everything covered in this article, you should now have more of an understanding of what it takes to become a pro gamer and how achievable it can be. Hopefully, we have answered your question – ‘what is professional gaming?’ and have perhaps even inspired you to look into it further!

Hard work and talent can get you so far but persevering and believing can make becoming a professional video game player an attainable goal.

If you liked this article, why not check out another on our blog! We recommend, Game Designer Guide: How To Become A Video Game Designer, Esports Team: Our Guide On How To Make An eSports Team, and What Musicians Can Learn From The Video Game Industry to get you started!

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