Making it as a full time pro gamer

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The transition from winning a lot and playing the occasional tournament to playing full time and making a living only from gaming can be quite difficult. Like the swimmer who has to wake up at 4am every morning to swim 10 kilometres before 6am, it’s not always as glamorous as it appears on an underwear packet, a Viagra ad on TV or a sports-drink billboard. But it can be done!

We’ve put together a high level list of things you’ll need to consider before making the leap.

Don’t stretch beyond your means

The very first thing you need to do understand whether you are in the financial position to support yourself to make a real go of it. It’s not good quitting your job to play games if two weeks later you have to beg your old boss for another chance.

Obviously you need to make your own assessments and decisions but if you’re starting from scratch you’ll need at least a 12 week buffer to feel comfortable building your brand and revenue streams. So be sure you have at least enough savings to stock up on 12 weeks’ worth of instant Ramen noodles or a year’s worth of space food.

Unless you’re already number one in the world and winning every tournament, making good money as a gamer is all about building a brand and dedicated audience. It’s a concept that everyone who has ever run their own website has had to grapple with, and you’re going to need to give yourself enough time to really create a solid brand.

And remember to live a balanced life. You don’t want to become this guy.

Prioritise potential sources of income

As a gamer you have a pretty wide variety of options available for where you will get your income. The most common streams currently are:

  • Tournament winnings
  • Live streaming and associated advertising
  • Sponsorship
  • Commentating wages
  • Coaching

While Gamer Institute makes sponsorship and coaching vastly more accessible it also adds the entirely new income stream of revenue sharing from instructional videos.

You should figure out exactly which of the above (and any others) suit you best and how you start making them meaningful. Once you have an idea of where you’re strengths lie, create a plan. Make it realistic and measurable and work towards achieving your goals. If at any point you falling to far behind, re-evaluate and update.

Assess your abilities objectively

Trust us when we say that there is a difference between you smacking the silly out of all your buddies, and pro-good. There’s also the difference between luck and consistently good. A virtual dunk on Lebron James makes a pro gamer not. Be sure to know you’re consistently able to hang with pros before you quit and go hang with the pros.

Do what it takes

This is the hard bit. As with any endeavour in life, in order to succeed you must follow through. Well as long as you’re still passionate about your end goal and enjoy the experience of getting better. For a gamer it means a number of things.

  • Promote yourself – Do it now, and do it often. Don’t be arrogant but get your name out there. Start a Twitter account and talk to people. Join forums and participate in conversations. Build a profile website for yourself. The list goes on.
  • Constantly research – Your success can depend on finding opportunities others don’t. Seek out small online tournaments to increase your experience. Build a network of pro gamer friends and ask them what they’re doing. Try new strategies and identify emerging income streams.
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