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How to Become a Successful Pro Gamer (11 Factors You Should Know)

This article is a fundamental guide on how to become a pro gamer, hopefully, a successful one.

Let’s briefly clarify the question ‘What is a Pro Gamer?” and define how we understand the term.

A pro gamer makes money from playing games or playing video games at an expert or professional level. We also call them esports players. They compete in video game competitions for fame and/or money. Pro gamers have skills that others can’t match, making them quite valuable to the gaming community and its fans.

 

Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.

become professional

 

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What are the Requirements to Become a Pro Gamer?

In short, to be successful as a pro gamer, you need many different skills: technical know-how, creativity, strong cognitive abilities, quick reflexes, and hand-eye coordination for fast reaction times. Concentration is essential for avoiding distractions during gameplay sessions that could cost points or matches in tournaments. And of course, practice, practice, practice!

You need to learn all the rules and play a lot of practice games before you reach competency. You will also have to learn how to control your nervousness when playing in front of an audience or online.

Pro gamers play for the same reasons that their fans do: they enjoy the game’s storylines, characters, and the mechanics of winning and beating others. Pro gamers do not get much time away from practicing; they continuously learn new things about their games, rigorously practicing and honing their skills to stay on top of their game.

Top players are the elite of an already exclusive group.

You have to be good in a game to qualify for esports events (tournaments & leagues), and if you want to profit from them, you need even better skills than the average. As a pro gamer, you have to take game balance into account. By doing this, you can predict how well or poorly your opponents will perform on specific maps with certain characters, items, or weapons.

Knowing your options and having strong analytical skills can give you an edge over your opponents in the middle of the match and the endgame.

The gaming community is huge! It involves the whole gaming world and has a massive impact on developing video games and esports. There are millions of gamers competing in online matches and tournaments for fun or money. If you are good at one type of game, you can sometimes transfer those skills to new ones.

If you want to be successful as a professional gamer, you need to be dedicated to your career. You will have to dedicate most of your time playing video games because practice makes perfect. You have to be able to balance your gaming with other activities, such as school or work. It’s essential to be healthy in body and mind so that you can train and practice all day long without getting exhausted.

For a good start, you should look at your diet to get more energy and focus. Here we have already written a little on the subject:

You have to be able to concentrate on the game or your training while tuning out distractions. Gaming requires the ability to handle emotions and demonstrating self-control. You will need a high pain threshold because competing can sometimes mean spending twelve hours a day or even more playing! Rest is also essential for learning how to overcome physical barriers through sleep and eating well.

 

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pro Gamer?

It depends on what kind of game you want to play. For the most popular games, such as League of Legends or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it takes about five years to go from a complete beginner to being a competitive player. It can be even longer if you don’t have the needed skills at the beginning.

And if you’re wondering what your chances are for a career? We have already answered that question in the post Odds for Becoming a Pro Gamer [Calculation Included] and clarified the math. Just calculate your odds yourself.

There are no shortcuts on the way to becoming a pro gamer.

Please don’t get the idea to use cheats. The motto ‘fake it till you make it’ has very nasty consequences if you get caught. Not only will your career end immediately, but sponsors and organizations will also contact you with claims for damages. Not an excellent idea. In principle, it’s the same as in classic sports. Stay clean, don’t give drugs a chance.

We wrote about the topic of cheating in the post Why Do Cheaters Cheat in Video Games?.

 

What Gaming Platform do You Need?

You need a gaming platform for every game on which you want to play seriously. As a pro gamer, you will probably use multiple platforms, such as PC for some games, Xbox One or PlayStation 4/5 for others, and mobile devices for still others. It depends on the games you want to play and the platform(s) available.

Nowadays, every well-known platform has esport titles on offer. Thanks to Twitch.tv, the audience is always so large that there is enough money in the market from sponsors and advertisers that there are professional teams. But you have to get there first.

 

What Factors are Relevant to Become a Pro Gamer?

1. Play Games Regularly and Learn From Your Mistakes

As a young child, you must have played games as well. Playing games is useful for learning motoric abilities, coordination, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination. Playing games is fun, but you can also learn from your mistakes. The main idea is to enjoy yourself. You don’t want to burn out because you play too much. Games should be a pastime and not work that becomes stressful and takes over your life.

2. Get Good at Other Computer Activities

Most gamers are at least average at using the computer in general. Still, some are good at one or more activities on the computer. These behaviors will come in handy later when playing games against other people online, especially if they have a high skill level and quickly spot all your mistakes and weaknesses.

3. Follow Live Streams and Youtube Videos

You will learn a lot by watching other people play the game. By watching better players, you can find new tactics and strategies that are not well-known to most players. Especially at the beginning of a game, there will be many unexpected situations. This is why it’s a good idea to watch experienced players learn how to react when something unexpected happens during your next match.

4. Watch Professional Players on TV

That means esports events on TV or online. Most pro gamers are well-known for gaming tournaments that are broadcasted live online or even on TV. If you watch these games, you will see what it takes to win and how they play their favorite games. Watching pro gamers live in action is an excellent source of motivation for you to practice even more.

5. Play With Your Friends

Playing against other people and clans or teams is the best way to get better at the game because you have the support of your teammates (you can also learn from them) and, most importantly, you will have fun no matter if you win or lose. Most esport games are team games. Training alone will only get you to an average level. Interacting in a team environment will take you much further.

6. Play Ranked

Ranked matches are good preparation for even more serious leagues and tournaments. Here, no teammate will throw a flash grenade in your face or shoot you in the foot for fun. And the opponents run around more seriously than on public servers. It would be best if you were good and fast because there’s no time for mistakes in a ranked match. You play with or against other players who are on your skill level.

If you win, you gain a rank. If you lose, your rank drops. Ranked matches are played in the esport leagues, too. So if your goal is to become a pro gamer one day, playing ranked matches is a good way to show your skills to potential sponsors and employers in this industry.

To perform better, you should get to grips with these 5 game mechanics:

 

7. Play Tournaments on a Professional Level

If you’ve been successful in performing well in ranked matches and want more of a challenge, then you should try playing tournaments on a professional level. In this category of play, you’ll find the very best players who will try their hardest to win a tournament that has prize money involved (or other rewards).

We talk about competitive gaming when the game has got this level of seriousness. Now it’s about money.

For example, we explained how to play PUBG competitively in the post How to Play Competitive PUBG (Beginner’s Guide). Many points from the guide also apply to competitive systems of other FPS games.

8. Play in the Esport Leagues

Which esport league you want to play in depends on what game you’re playing. The most popular games have esport Leagues leading to a big final event, where teams compete against each other for prizes. If you want to see how that works, you can watch some Twitch TV or Youtube Live tournaments.

9. Become a Member of a Professional Team

As we’ve mentioned earlier, playing ranked matches is the best way to show your skills to potential sponsors and employers in this industry. Pro teams are usually sponsored companies that offer players advantages such as better equipment and salary.

Of course, that sounds far too simple.

You will have to show yourself over several years with consistent performance in the competitive scene so that someone gives you his trust and money. That’s why the next point is the most important.

10. Learn, learn, learn

Your mind must always be open to new things. The meta of games now changes almost monthly. You frequently have to invent new strategies, adopt tactics, and master new game elements. Only those who are comfortable with new challenges – both big and small – can get to the top and stay there.

11. Measure Yourself

Of course, we look at other people. We have role models we want to emulate. We have competitors we want to beat. We have teammates we want to outdo. Ultimately, however, we have only one opponent: ourselves.

Or to put it another way: If we only improve ourselves a little every day, then we are bound to be better than everyone else at some point. But improvements can only be tracked if they are measured. Document your progress.

Measure your performance and improve step by step through training and analysis. Then no one will be able to pass you by.

 

How to Become an Esports Player – 2 Examples

The best way to become an esport player is to play competitively, get noticed by others, and then search for sponsors and eventually compete in esport tournaments. Here’s how two famous esport players got started:

Spencer “Hiko” Martin was a top esport player before he joined gaming team Cloud9. He started playing video games with his friends in middle school. Then he joined a Counter-Strike team at age 15 and won his first tournament. His success led him to an invitation to play on prestigious teams like Fnatic, Team Liquid, and Winterfox. He also played in the first North American League of Legends Championship Series (NALCS).

Martin “Rekkles” Larsson is a Swedish gamer who made his name a League of Legends player. Larsson started playing League of Legends in 2011 at age 14. Just one year later, Riot Games invited him to become an esports athlete. He quickly became the best player in Europe and received offers from professional gaming teams. He played for the following teams: “Copenhagen Wolves,” “Fnatic,” and “Unicorns of Love.”

In a nutshell, playing in the esport leagues is the most direct way to become a pro gamer. However, many other players take alternative routes to success.

 

Is Playing Online Games Your Job Like Being Paid to Play?

Yes, you can earn real money by playing video games. If you won a tournament, you could get money for that. You could even be a pro gamer who gets paid a salary by an esport team. But professional players keep only a part of the prize money.

Almost all of these winners have to give parts to their organization. After all, they were promoted, supported, and marketed by the esport organizations. How much is left at the end is defined in the employment contract and can be very individual.

Below is a list of some of the best esports League Tournaments in which players compete for money. We only listed the most popular esport events because there are so many esport events and teams to see. This list would get way too long if we included all of them.

Game

League/Tournament

Prize Money

Hearthstone

World Championship

$1,000,000.00

CS:GO

eLeague (World’s Premier esport League)

$1,000,000

Dota 2

The International 2017

$10,923,130

Overwatch

World Cup 2017

$600,000

Call Of Duty

World League CoD Champs 2017

$800,000

League of Legends

Mid-Season Invitational 2016

$200,000

League of Legends

World Championship 2016

$2,130,000

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

ESL One Cologne 2017

$300,000

StarCraft II

World Championship Series

$400,000

 

Playing games online for a living is an exciting dream job and can be done by anyone who can play games competitively and/or professionally. However, the path to the top of the esport earnings foodchain is paved with many obstacles, and competition is fierce in most competitive esport games today. Hence, not everyone manages to make a living playing video game professionally.

Successful esports teams can make millions of dollars a year. Some famous players are making so much money playing esports that the numbers can shock you. Still, some people are making tens of millions of dollars each year by winning tournaments in esport leagues and other professional gaming events.

Our list below looks at five players who made 2 million dollars or more playing video games. We’ve researched the esports earnings for each of these people and matched it to their tournament earnings where possible. An earning includes prize money, salary from playing for an esports team, and money from sponsorships, advertising, or other means. We’re also using information from 2015, so some players on this list have made more money since then by winning more tournaments or obtaining new sponsorship deals (e.g., a new gaming laptop sponsor).

1. Jeong Byeong-Hun (see the profile on Liquipedia.net)

Jeong Byeong-Hun is a StarCraft II professional player from South Korea. He was born in 1994 and played under the alias “ByuN” (short for “Be Your Own Hero”). ByuN played as a Terran for CJ Entus in 2014. He competed at the GSL (Global StarCraft II League) Code S tournament and made $26,853 from his first two Proleague appearances, but this wasn’t enough to qualify for the end-of-year Global Finals. At least part of ByuN’s 2014 earnings came from winning the World Cyber Games tournament in China.

In 2015, ByuN won the StarCraft II StarLeague Season 2 event in South Korea and the World E-sport Championships. Both tournaments awarded him with prize money of $60,000 each. On top of that, ByuN also competed at the World Electronic Sports Games tournament in China, where he made an additional $42,000. All this led to ByuN making approximately $100,000 in StarCraft II profits for 2015, which added up to $2 million over his pro gaming career.

2. Lee Sang-hyeok (see the profile on lol.gamepedia.com)

Lee Sang-hyeok is a South Korean pro-gamer better known as “Faker.” He made his name playing League of Legends for SK Telecom T1 from 2013 to 2017. His most significant win to date came in 2015 when he won the League of Legends World Championship trophy and the $1 million prize money that went along with it. Faker has also won multiple IEM and KeSPA Cup events as well as the Mid-Season Invitational in 2017. Although we estimate his total lifetime earnings to be even higher, Faker has won over $2 million in career winnings.

3. Paul “sOAZ” Boyer (see the profile on lol.gamepedia.com)

Paul Boyer is a professional League of Legends player from France who currently plays for Fnatic. He plays the role of Top Laner for his team. He has a reputation for carrying games on this position even if his team doesn’t have a perfect early game which makes him especially valuable during tournaments. This made Boyer one of the highest earners in LoL esports, with most of his income from winning prize money at tournaments throughout 2017. Overall, he’s made more than $2 million in career winnings.

4. Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel (see the profile on Wikipedia)

Johnathan Wendel is a retired pro gamer from the United States who played under his name and the nickname “Fatal1ty”. Fatal1ty was one of the most successful and famous pro gamers of all time as a professional gamer from 1997 to 2010. He retired with a prize money total of more than $2 million, making him one of the highest-earning esports players ever. Fatal1ty won the 2nd and 3rd Cyberathlete Professional League World Championships in 2000 and 2001 and was inducted into the Cyberathlete Hall of Fame in 2005.

5. Kuro Takhasomi (see the profile on Liquipedia.net)

Kuro Takhasomi is a retired pro gamer from Germany who played for several professional esports teams from 1998 to 2015, including Team Dignitas, SK Gaming, mousesports, and Ninjas in Pyjamas. In the latter part of his career, he was known as “KuroKy” or simply “Kuro.” He played the role of support player throughout his career. He was famous for playing almost every type of support character well, including Chen, Enchantress, Keeper of the Light, Lion, and Shadow Shaman. Kuro made over $1 million in winnings from 2001 to 2015, but his total lifetime earnings are higher.

 

Conclusion

Playing video games as a job or career is not a job that everyone can do or even get. It is very competitive because you’re competing against other players who want to do the same thing as you. This situation makes it hard to make it big and command high salaries from your gaming skills alone. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, and if you are one of the best players in the world, you could probably make a living playing professional esports.

Esports has grown into a big thing, with people betting on esports winning millions of dollars every year. Some people even watch entire tournaments just for fun and to support their favorite teams or pro gamers. If this sounds like something you might be good at, then raise your chances of success by practicing and taking online gaming seriously. You could become the next big thing in esports!

We hope that we can support you with one or the other advice. Good luck.

 

Related Posts: Top 5 Mechanics You Need to Master for Higher Ranking in FPS Games

 

If you have a question about the post or pro gaming in general, write to us: contact@raiseyourskillz.com.

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GL & HF! Flashback out.

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