6 Steps How to Become a Professional Gamer and Build a Lucrative Career
40 years ago, people played video games for pleasure. You can visit your friends and enjoy the day playing games.
People still enjoy playing video games. But even more than that, people now build careers on video gaming.
How big is gaming? With the popularity of esports in the past few years, gaming has even gotten much bigger than it used to be.
There are now arenas filled with tens of thousands of people watching gaming teams competing for huge cash prizes. And added to that, you have millions of people watching and sponsors pouring money into video gaming.
It’s no exaggeration to say video gaming and esports is as big as some real-life sports. There are esports betting websites where people bet on esports games. And you have scouts looking to recruit the next big video gaming star.
The U.S. gaming market alone is expected to reach $20.2 billion by 2021.
For people who don’t want to join professional gaming teams, they can now stream their games on a platform like Twitch. And make a lot of money.
What more evidence do you need?
Make no mistake, it takes a lot of hard work to make it as a professional gamer. Just like most other careers. Having said that, there’s a pathway to success as a professional gamer if you can follow the steps.
In this guide, I’ll show you 6 steps to follow to build a lucrative career in the highly competitive gaming industry.
1. Select a game
If you want to be a professional gamer, then the wrong step is to try to play many games. Even when you concentrate on a single game, there’s no guarantee of making it to the top.
But trying to specialize in many games is a guarantee for failure. Becoming a professional at a single game requires many hours of daily commitment to have a chance of getting to the top.
If your plan is to reach the top then you have to pick a game and master it. What you’ll find about most successful gamers is that they play a single game. And due to years of commitment to this game, they know it inside out.
However, if you’re just beginning, picking a game may be easier said than done. Because it’s difficult to select a game when you’ve never played it and when you have little knowledge of what it entails.
Therefore, if you’re a beginner, I’ll advise you to play many games at the beginning. By doing this, you’ll find a game you love playing.
And it may sound cliché, but if you want to stand a chance of creating a lucrative idea through gaming, then you need to love the game you play. You’ll spend so many hours of your days and years of your life doing it. So why not love it?
And loving the game you play will encourage you to continue playing on when you face disappointments or the inevitable failures.
2. Get the best gaming tools possible
When you’re gaming you need the best set of tools to give you an edge. Or to at least ensure you’re not at a disadvantage.
Yes, many will say that the tool is always as good as the player. To some extent, that’s true. But in professional gaming, it’s usually wrong.
You know why? Thin margins often determine the winners. If you use a gaming rig that lags behind your opponent’s in performance, it could be the reason you lose.
And when you think about it, do you want to lose when you face an opponent that’s just as good as you are just because you’re using an inferior rig?
While thinking of pursuing a gaming career, there are many tools that are important to your gaming performance. Some of them are:
To pick a gaming monitor, there are many considerations. One of them is your monitor’s screen size. You can use a monitor that range from 27 inches to 35 inches for the best views possible.
However, while picking your gaming monitor, size is only one of the consideration. Other considerations include the panel type and the refresh rate. Popular panel types for monitors are TN, IPS, VA, and other variations of the 3.
Usually, for color quality, IPS panel monitors tend to produce the best color quality among the 3 types of monitor panels. It also eliminates limited viewing angles.
However, when it comes to gaming, the TN panel monitors are more commonly used. Even though they usually produce poorer images than the IPS monitors.
This is because TN monitors usually have higher refresh rates which are critical to gaming. Talking about refresh rates, it’s the number of times your monitor refreshes its images in a second.
The most popular refresh rates for monitors are 60Hz, 120Hz, and 144Hz. The 240 Hz monitors are becoming popular but the 3 listed will usually be enough to meet your gaming needs.
When you have a great monitor, you also need a great CPU to support it for the best performance possible. For instance, the frames per second (fps) of your graphics card will determine how fast your monitor can render.
If your graphics card has a rating of 60 frames per second, then it would be pointless having a 144Hz monitor. Because the monitor will only be able to show what the graphics card is rendering. So it will only work at 60Hz.
You need to combine a strong monitor with a great central processing unit.
Well, this is obvious. Since you’ll be using your gaming mouse for a long period of time daily. It’s necessary to get the best possible to ensure you can make all the moves your need to. You can check brands like logitech, steelseries, Corsair, etc. to find a suitable mouse for your needs.
Microphone or Headset
If you stream your games to an audience online through platforms like Twitch, then you need a good microphone or headset to communicate properly with your audience. When people watch your game, they also want to listen to your comments.
In fact, this is a way of building a close bond with your audience. Creating a following is a good first step on how to become a professional gamer.
3. Practice daily
You don’t become a professional the day you start playing a game. In fact, you probably won’t play great in your first year of playing video games.
What I’m trying to say is that you need to put in the hours of practice to even have a chance. You need to practice daily to get a grip on various aspects of your chosen game.
You’ll find that many professional gamers spend 8 or more hours daily playing games and trying to improve their craft. As a beginner, you may be unable to put in this high number of hours.
But you should still practice daily if you intend to become a professional. One way to practice daily is to set a schedule for gaming.
How many hours can you play daily considering your daily activities? Many people start professional gaming while still holding a daily job.
Many only leave their day jobs to concentrate on video gaming when they start making enough money through gaming to live comfortably. Therefore it might be unrealistic to play for a high number of hours daily when you have a day job.
You, however, have a period of time during the day when you can indulge in video games. This could be for 3 or 4 hours after your day at work. You can put this in your schedule and ensure that you keep to it daily.
The importance of keeping a schedule and following it daily is that over time, practice becomes a habit. With this, you can build consistency and improve your gaming.
Another thing to note with practice is that after a period of time, it can become monotonous. When you get to a point, you may stop learning.
This is why you need to play with other gamers during your practice. Playing with other gamers will help you to improve your gaming. You can see new skills and different styles of gameplay from your opponents.
And even more, you can ask them to identify flaws in your game. It’s human, we usually find it difficult to access ourselves accurately. It’s always important to seek an external view when trying to make improvements.
With this, you can improve more aspects of your game and even seek better opponents. With regular and deliberate practice, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. The point about daily practice is to make practice a habit and aim for continuous improvements.
4. Set targets
When it comes to becoming a professional gamer, there are many levels. And as a beginner, you need to set targets and meet them. While setting goals as a gamer, the SMART acronym also applies here. Your goals should be:
As a beginner, you don’t set your next target to be the world champion. You’re just going to set yourself up for frustration. If you’re starting out today, you can set targets for the next week, month, year, 5 years, and so on.
After setting these goals, write them down and track your progress on their achievement. Every gamer who became a professional and built a lucrative career had to rise through the ranks.
Your first target is to be the best in your immediate community and then move up from there. Your goals should also reflect that.
5. Find the right gaming community
To build a lucrative career in professional gaming, you simply can’t do it alone. You need to find the right community and make yourself a committed member.
When you find a gaming community that suits your need, you find a group of people who have achieved what you’re trying to achieve. And others who have the same targets you have.
While looking for a community, you should find one in your chosen game.
Find a team
For professional gamers in a particular video game, there are usually teams that compete in various tournaments for prizes. You should find a team to join.
First of all, the cost of competing in tournaments is high. Taking on these costs individually can put a dent on your finances. Added to that, a team will invest in extra training to improve your gaming abilities.
Build an online profile
Part of becoming an influential professional gamer is becoming popular. If you don’t become popular in the gaming circle, it becomes difficult to build a brand.
That’s why you need to build an online profile. This begins with having a blog where people can read about you and know more about your gaming performances.
You also need to be on social media where you can gain followers who are interested in gaming and can become your fans. You should also have videos of your gameplay on YouTube and Twitch where other gamers can view it.
Through an online profile, you become a bigger member of the gaming community and can attract big sponsors.
Maintain a good attitude
Part of being a respectable member of the gaming community is maintaining a good attitude. Nobody wants you to disrespect them or swear constantly at them just because you can play a video game.
A bad attitude will cause many problems for you as a gamer and it will be much more difficult to build a lucrative career. With a bad attitude, fans, fellow gamers, and sponsors will desert you like the plague.
Fine, you don’t need to be perfect as a gamer. But you need to keep your emotions in check even when you’re not getting what you deserve. Through this, you can build respect and a large following for your craft.
6. Compete in tournaments
It’s difficult for you to become a professional gamer by just playing games at home. Fine, there are gamers who stream games from their homes to their Twitch audience and make money.
But you’ll find that many of the top gamers also belong to gaming teams. This is because you need to compete to show yourself as a capable gamer. Even for Twitch gamers who don’t belong to a team, they compete against other gamers and stream to their followers.
To make it easier to compete in tournaments, you have to belong in a team. Most of the big tournaments are team competitions and are expensive to enter.
There are many tournaments depending on the video game you play. And you’ll get to play in front of an audience of thousands in gaming arenas and millions of others who will be watching at various places in the world.
You’ll find many lucrative tournaments for popular games like the Call of Duty, DOTA 2, and League of Legends. Some popular tournaments today are:
The International: this is an international gaming tournament with many gaming titles. The two most popular are the League of Legends and DOTA. In this tournament, 16 teams from all over the world come to Seattle to compete for over $10 million in prizes.
EVO: this is a gaming tournament for fighting games and includes events for about 9 games. This tournament has been in existence since 2002 and holds every summer in Las Vegas. Two popular games available in this tournament are the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games.
Dreamhack: this is probably the biggest gaming event in Sweden. The tournament takes place twice a year at the Elmia Exhibition Center where gamers compete for 72 hours in various games. The most popular game in this tournament is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
Electronic Sports World Cup: this is one of the oldest esports competition as it started in 2003 in Paris. The events features a popular game like Call of Duty. Likewise, it has a unique racing series called Trackmania specially made for the events.
League of Legends World Championship: if you’re in the gaming industry, you’ve probably heard about the League of Legends. It’s widely regarded as the largest esports title in the world. And it was the most played game in 2016 and 2021. That’s why the League of Legends world championship is a big deal.
Teams will first have to go through regional competitions before they even get a chance to participate in the world championship. The teams that get the world championship will then have to compete for $1 million.
Having talked about competing and different tournaments, you also have to know that the aim of competing as a gamer is not only to win. This also gives you the opportunity to collaborate with other gamers. For instance, other gamers have their audience.
When you collaborate with them either to play against them or to form a team for a game, you have access to a new audience and you can gain more popularity this way. The point is that other serious gamers are looking to compete and you can collaborate with them through this avenue.
Another thing similar is to network with other gamers. When you get opportunities in the gaming industry, it’s usually because some people know you or someone has linked you up. Therefore, building a network with other gamers is crucial.
They can help with everything from improving your gameplay to finding a team to even getting sponsors. So while competing, don’t lose the opportunity to network with other gamers.
Becoming a professional gamer and building a successful career takes years of hard work, commitment, and improvements. But it’s achievable if you put in the work and you’re patient enough to reap the rewards.
One truth about gaming is that it can be a physically and mentally intense activity.
And over time, it could take a toll on a gamer’s health.
While pursuing your gaming career, it’s vital to take care of your health and ensure that your don’t sacrifice your health to build a gaming career.