If you were to rank the dream jobs of everybody on the planet then you have to think that being a pro-gamer would rank up there with the likes of “Hollywood actor” and “pop star”. Personally, mine is to be a writer, living the dream!
But is being a pro-gamer just a pipe dream? Or can a person actually do that for a career? Well, the simple answer is, yes, a person can do it for a career, but it isn’t just a case of playing games. Let’s investigate.
Smash bro pro
Let’s take a pro-gamer as a, for instance, some three years ago Juan DeBiedma quit his job to focus on playing Super Smash Bros. As it happens it has panned out pretty well for DeBiedma. He is now more well-known by the moniker Hungrybox and ranks as the best player in the world. Not bad at all.
When quizzed on the subject he said “It just so happens that we’re lucky enough to live in 2019 where this enjoyment, this hobby, can not only be something where you’re cherished as a champion, but you can actually make a living off it,” he went on to eulogise his career stating that it can be used to not just pay your own bills, but your families too, you know if you play your cards, or in this case, your smash bros, right.
Exceptions proving rules
Of course, he is a pretty unique case. Not everybody has his skills. It has taken him more than a decade of competitive play to hone his talents and even then it took him focusing on it full time to make anything more than pocket money. And now his life consists of a hectic schedule of game practice, travelling and promoting.
When he says paying his bills…
Yeah, I’m sure you’d like to know what he is on in terms of money. After all, if you have a killer KD ratio on COD you may be considering kicking your 9-5 habit for a chance to make your chump change charging into battle. While we don’t have exact figures according to eSports earnings he has averaged more than $100k per year since his decision to go pro and that’s just in terms of prize money.
It can be an actual job
If you can become part of a league then in addition to prize winnings leagues and teams can pay a salary for your services, but you do have to be better than just good, you have to be a pro. Don’t forget in the case of DeBiedma we are literally talking about the best player in the world at his sport.
The bubble factor and long odds
Just like with the aforementioned dream of being a leading lady or lad in Holywood the odds of making a as a pro-gamer are pretty long. Even the contests that don’t pay particularly well for winning them have hundreds of contestants. If you are going to pay money to travel to the various competitions then you need to be confident you are going to be in the prizes at the end.
Then there is the fact that, unlike Holywood, this is a new industry. It is fair to say that it appears to be constantly growing but does that perceived popularity mask a bubble? Many people believe that it does.
There are naysayers that will point to alleged inflated figures in terms of viewership and attendance to live events. They suggest that these are being used to lure investors into helping the industry grow and eventually when that bubble bursts that the industry will try to achieve more stability and the money available for players will plummet. But with the recent news that higher profile sponsors are joining the fray, this looks less likely to happen.