So You Want To Go Pro?
Carlos’ Cartridge Column
By Carlos Lee
For many people playing video games, being the best is what we want. Those who are the best can become role models for others and, nowadays, make a living from it. Professional players are essentially celebrities. Fortnite player ‘Ninja’ has seen great popularity from his Twitch stream and can be seen in daily Snapchat stories and the cover of ESPN magazine. In an interview with CNBC, Ninja claims to make more than $500,000 a month. Being a professional gamer has garnered a lot of perks, but how and what are the steps in becoming the best?
At its core, dedication is what drives many people to become professional. You need to be willing to sink at least eight hours a day into a dedicated game. So say goodbye to a social life. This is one of the biggest obstacles when you ask yourself if you really want this to be your career. For example, South Korean “Starcraft 2” player “marineking” claimed that he would play for 20 hours regularly. When I started seriously committing myself in “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” I was playing ten hours a day with my team every weekday. Even if you’re not the best and think you’ve got the personality for Twitch streaming, the same commitment exists. Only consider these two options if you have the time.
The benefit of playing video games as a job has obvious appeal. However, if you want to seriously consider taking the next steps it’s important to realize the shortcomings. For one, don’t drop out of your college or job opportunities. Most professional players retire before their late 20s, especially in games that require quick reflexes such as first-person shooters.
You would think that a hobby that has grown into your job is a dream without worries, but it’s an incredibly stressful environment. One primary cause of stress for most players is the need to be the best. With the constant practice regimen to essentially playing against other top players for an income, the stress can mount. Even the best parts of the job that people glamourize – millions of fans and international tournaments – can be troublesome. Some professional players forget that with popularity comes with responsibility. Previous professional players have been known to aggressively curse and create drama with ensuing backlash, but not always. Traveling to play video games also seems great. However, that’s if you’re ok with missing essential practice and dealing with an inflated viewership always expecting the best out of you.
Don’t let this article discourage you if this is something you really do want to. The important part is to understand the reality you are getting into. Video games can always stay a hobby.