It is no secret that gaming has become insanely popular over the last two decades. When the industry was still in its infancy, it was met with a critical response from the public who believed they were a range of things, from wastes of time to vices that increase aggression in children. As the industry has grown though, these attitudes have simmered, culminating in the culture we have today, where video games are accepted and even embraced. Extraordinarily, it is even possible to have a successful and lucrative career from playing video games, something that was once thought to be in the realms of impossibility.
Many will be aware that video streaming platforms such as YouTube and Twitch have channels that are dedicated to gaming, which earn money through the size of their audience and sponsorship deals. However, the best players gravitate to another career path: competitive gaming. This scene has seen incredible growth in recent years, and while it has always existed in some form, the level it is at today is astronomical. For example, the total prize pool for Dota 2’s The International was $40 million. These kinds of figures will encourage young aspiring players that playing video games is a legitimate way to become successful.
The reason why competitive gaming has seen a rise in simple. As the number of active players increases, the gaming industry increases and so does the demand for some multiplayer games that have a competitive scene around them. Of course, the staggeringly high revenues the industry is seeing allows certain publishers to create massive prize pools for their players in the hopes of attracting more players to allow their game to grow. Over the lockdowns, many gamers saw competitive gaming as a great activity to pass the time, amongst other activities like online gambling. Those that live in areas with restrictive gambling legislation just like the Arkansas gambling laws though would have found more enjoyment in gaming competitively online.
In the past, if a child were to say to their parent, they want to play video games for a living, they would probably be met with a response along the lines of: ‘stop dreaming and think of an actual job you want to do’. This statement would not even have been inaccurate to say in the early noughties, but today, competitive gaming can prove to be more profitable than many other careers. Even colleges and universities have embraced the fact that it is a legitimate job, and many across the world can be seen to offer promising players scholarships to study and play competitive video games.
There are many benefits to becoming a professional video game player, though there are certain drawbacks that many may feel makes the career not worth considering. To start with, players must be exceptionally good players to break into the scene and considering there are around 2.5 billion gamers in the world, the competition is high. The lifestyle also demands commitment, and professionals will need to dedicate large parts of the day to playing their chosen video game. This is because their skill in the game dictates how good they are at their job, and ultimately at what level they can compete.