Thousands of guys now make a handsome living by simply sitting in a comfortable chair and playing their favourite video games. You can join their ranks by following one of these five paths:
Become an Esports Star
A 16-year-old high school student called Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf walked off with $3 million when he won the solo tournament at last year’s Fortnite World Cup. He kept a low profile before the event, but his victory catapulted him to fame and fortune. Bugha trained for six hours a day in anticipation of the tournament, and his efforts were rewarded when he wiped the floor with several vaunted opponents.
There are many more examples of talented young gamers training hard and breaking into the esports scene. Earlier this year, Brazilian player Paulo “PVDDR” earned the $300,000 top prize when he won the Magic World Championship XXVI. Saudi star Aldossary “MSdossary7” has career earnings of $570,000 after winning the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup along with several other tournaments. He went on to meet the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Thibaut Courtois at FIFA’s The Best ceremony in London. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean has earned around $700,000 and become a cultural icon while playing fighting games.
They all have certain things in common. They picked a discipline, trained like demons to perfect their skills and displayed immense determination to succeed. If you can focus your energies on mastering a particular esport in a similar way, you could become the next superstar solo gamer.
Join a Team
Most esports stars join famous franchises such as Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses, Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Team SoloMid, Newbee, Vici Gaming, Virtus.pro, OG, Natus Vincere, Cloud9, FaZe Clan, Team Vitality, 100 Thieves or OpTic Gaming. The big franchises all contain multiple teams competing in various esports. For instance, Team Liquid has competed in Dota 2, CS:GO, League of Legends, StarCraft, Fortnite, PUBG, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros., Street Fighter, Halo, Rainbow Six Siege and many more.
Once you join a team, you will receive a salary, allowing you to dedicate yourself to gaming full-time. You will also enjoy the benefits of a dedicated training facility, coaches, sports psychologists, commercial managers, unions and more. These teams change their rosters on a regular basis, and there is regularly an opportunity for exciting young gamers to become superstars. Very few people had heard of Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut a couple of years ago. Now he is rated as the world’s best CS:GO player and he is the star of Team Vitality.
The world’s most famous esports star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok earns a multimillion-dollar annual salary with LoL team SK Telecom T1. He has led them to three world titles and turned down several lucrative offers to move teams. The five members of Astralis have earned more than $1 million each by playing CS:GO, while N0tail, JerAc, ana, Ceb and Topson – the quintet that makes up OG – are the five highest earning esports stars of all time after winning Dota 2’s The International in 2018 and 2019.
If you cannot land a place on a famous team like Liquid, Vitality or SK Telecom T1, you should not grow disheartened. The esports scene is still in its infancy, and new teams are emerging all the time. Join up with like-minded gamers in your local area, and you could soon be vanquishing the famous names at major tournaments.
Become a Celebrity Streamer
Celebrity streamers earn more money than any other gamers. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins built up a huge following on Twitch and YouTube, and ended up earning $15 million per year because viewers were so enamoured with his content. He mainly plays Fortnite, but he is by no means the greatest player. He did not qualify for the Fortnite World Cup, as his scores were not high enough. Yet he earns more than all of his peers thanks to the magnetism of his personality and his flair for creating engaging content.
Last year, Microsoft paid him somewhere between $20 million and $30 million to abandon Twitch and YouTube and stream exclusively on its Mixer platform. Now Mixer is folding into Facebook Gaming, and Ninja is free to sell his wares to the highest bidder once again. He is the biggest gaming streamer in the business, but there are many more famous names, from Tfue and shroud to Dr Disrespect and Myth. All you need is a webcam, a reasonable grasp of each game and some solid banter, and you can follow in their footsteps.
Bet on Yourself
Betting on video games has soared in popularity over the past few years. Dedicated sites like Unikrn allow you to bet on LoL, CS:GO, Dota 2, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, FIFA, Fortnite, Hearthstone and much more on a daily basis. You are by no means limited to wagering on who will win a match, as you can place special wagers on markets like total maps played, first team to slay a dragon, handicaps and so on.
You can also bet on yourself playing games with Unikrn’s UMode. This allows players of any skill level to make wagers on their normal video game play.
Work as a Video Game Tester
Computer game testers are part of the quality assurance team. You can play new games, report any bugs and give your verdict on how strong the gameplay is. The developers will ask you to come up with potential improvements and provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of the game. This is a great option if you do not want to limit yourself to playing just one game, which is a necessary evil for esports stars.
Video game testers are also at the forefront of new developments, seeing games before their peers, which is very exciting. Video game testers have reported earning salaries north of $50,000. You need a strong technological background, the ability to recognise faults and a passion for gaming, and if you fit the bill you can enjoy a fun and varied career playing video games.