The very first video game was created in 1958. It was called Tennis for Two and could only be played on a small analog computer. The game consisted of hitting one button to send the ball soaring toward the other side of the screen.
It might sound absurdly boring, but the game was a massive hit! This should come as no surprise, as it’s been over 60 years since the inception of Tennis for Two and video games are more popular than ever.
And nowadays, playing video games is just the start. Those with a passion for the pastime can go as far as to pursue a career in esports.
If you’re thinking, is a career in esports possible for me? The answer is simple: yes.
However, as with any career path, finding your way into a successful career in esports takes a combination of hard work, dedication, and skill. But if you have all three, becoming a professional gamer is absolutely achievable.
To learn the steps you need to take to get there, just keep reading.
- Do Some Soul Searching
Any decision, but especially one that will make a large change to your day-to-day life, should be done with intention. In other words, you have to know your “why”.
A quick internet search will reveal many opinions on motivation, many of which are conflicting. But the bottom line is this: there’s no wrong answer. Whatever motivates you most is what you should chase.
That said, breaking into esports takes a great deal of commitment and is a road that shouldn’t be taken without passion. If you’re considering becoming a professional gamer because it sounds easy, you might want to rethink your decision.
On the other hand, if you’re looking into career paths in esports because you love gaming, competition, and putting time and effort into growing as a player, you’re on the right track.
Going into any career because you think it will be easy or you’re hoping for money, fame, or success, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If that’s your sole motivation, however, you’ll find that you experience burnout much more quickly.
- Pick a Game
While you can play a wide variety of games in your free time, it’s best to hone in on a specific game when you’re pursuing a career as a professional gamer. This will help you to find your niche but also make your practice time more effective, as you’ll be focused on a particular set of skills.
The trick is to pick a game that you love to play (a lot) that’s either well established in the esports community or has the potential to get to that point.
Choosing an Established Game
By choosing an established game, you get the benefits of an existing esports infrastructure. This means that there will be plenty of resources to help you along the way, as well as sponsored tournaments with prizes that will boost your career further.
The downside to going with a game already established within the esports community is that you’ll find it much more difficult to break in if you’re new to the scene.
Choosing a Game With Potential
The other option is to pick a game that isn’t quite as popular but has a lot of potential in esports. You might have to pave the way for the esports community by going this route, but if you choose wisely, you could be at the forefront of the next big thing.
There’s always a chance that the game won’t catch on the way you had hoped, in which case you’ll have to try again with a different game.
Take your time with this choice. Remember, you’re basing your entire career around this one game, it’s important that you pick the right one.
- Gather Your Gear
Once you know which game you’re going to play, it’s time to gather your gear. The reason you need to pick your game first is that the game is going to dictate the type of console and gear that you need.
The most popular choice with esports is PC gaming. If this is the route you choose, you’ll need a computer tower, monitor, mouse, and mechanical keyboard, in addition to any streaming equipment you need, such as a camera and microphone.
All of this equipment can be purchased from online retailers such as lenovo.com. As with the game you want to pursue, take your time when searching for equipment. Every gamer is different, and the equipment you prefer might be different from what someone else recommends.
Peripherals (input-output devices like your keyboard and mouse) come in different sizes, but also have varying form factors and sensitivities. Don’t be afraid to test things out and find what works best for you.
Regardless of the peripherals that you choose, however, you need to use the same set up for every game and competition. Learning your equipment like the back of your hand is crucial to your success in esports.
- Practice, Practice, Practice
At the end of the day, gaming is a skill. And like any skill, you can’t expect to achieve greatness without practice. So whether you’re playing against other gamers via in-game matchmaking or honing your skills with your chosen game’s mechanics, you need to practice every day.
If you’re a seasoned veteran, you might only notice small improvements here and there, but these improvements are necessary to make. You can bet that the gamers you’re going to be competing against are practicing constantly, even if they know everything there is to know about the game.
Take your gaming education the extra mile by watching others play as well. This can be reviewing gamers worse than you to note their mistakes, or studying gamers above your skill level to see where you can make improvements.
You should also record and review your own gameplay. Looking back on what you’ve done, taking mental (and physical) notes of where you excel and what you need to work on will help you to make positive changes in your technique.
- Don’t Neglect Your Health
Though it’s true that constant practice is the key to success, you can’t neglect the other areas of your life in the name of your career. And in fact, allowing your health to fall to the wayside is one of the worst things you can do for your gaming performance.
Getting the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity per week, for example, can do wonders for your reflexes and coordination. Not to mention, taking a break from the screen is essential for the health of your eyes.
Practice often, but take breaks often too. This will prevent burnout, keep you motivated, and help you to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle that isn’t consumed by video games.
- Join a Team
After you’ve built up a reputation within the esports community of your chosen game, you can look for a team. Now, it’s possible that you’ve made such a name for yourself at this point that a team reaches out to you. If this is the case, great! If not, you need to take the initiative and try out for teams yourself.
In an ideal situation, your team will be made up of gamers at your skill level and higher. As we mentioned above, surrounding yourself with those better than you is an excellent way to build your skill and improve your technique.
Check forums, discord servers, subreddits, and groups on gaming platforms such as Steam to find teams that are looking for new members.
- Enter Competitions
You’ve been practicing, you have your team, you’ve studied both your own gameplay and that of others. You’re ready to enter some competitions! Competitions will not only hone your skill but will also help you make the connections you need to build a career in esports.
As with any career, networking is of the utmost importance in professional gaming. You need to be known in your community and build relationships with other gamers in order to attract the attention of professional gaming organizations.
Rub shoulders with as many of your fellow gamers as you can, particularly those who are well connected. Gamers high up in the esports community can give you a leg up by introducing you to private channels, exclusive scrims, and better networking opportunities.
Start Your Career in Esports Today
If you’re looking for a sign that it’s time to begin the pursuit of a career in esports, this is it! You now have the roadmap to get there, all that’s left is to get going.
You have a long road ahead of you, but if you’re passionate about video games, it will never feel like work. Stay dedicated and you’ll be landing your dream job before you know it.
Looking for more tips and tricks for advancing in your chosen career? Take a look at our blog!