If you were to go back in time 50 years and tell the first person you met that it would someday be possible to make an excellent living playing video games, they’d probably laugh you back into 2021. But nowadays, many people have learned to turn their passion into a career.
And it’s not just game reviewers who have managed this. Many gamers make a great deal of money live streaming their gameplay or entering tournaments for the prize money. The most elite players have obtained sponsorship from big companies and can now enjoy the financial security and freedom to play games as much as they want.
For anyone with even a minor interest in video games, this no doubt sounds like a dream job. But how can you make it a reality?
The gaming industry is a competitive world, and you just expect to reach the top of the ladder just because you have a PS5 and log 12 hours of playing time a day. As with any career, it will take a great deal of hard work and commitment to succeed.
If you think you have what it takes to become a professional gamer, here are a few key tips to help you achieve your career aspirations.
Focus on a goal
Before you get started on your mission, you need to have a clear goal in mind. Are you motivated by success? Fame? Money? Career satisfaction? Work out your reasons for wanting to become a professional gamer, and this will help you to stay focused along the way. This positive motivation will keep you engaged and will inform every decision you make such as which tournaments to enter, communities to join and games to play.
Pick your gaming style
Every successful gamer has a niche, whether it’s honing your skills in one particular game or completing as many games as possible for a live stream audience. It helps to have a clear idea of what kind of gamer you are. Many pro gamers have a single area of expertise, such as Fortnite or Counter Strike, and they will devote all their time to becoming a master of this one game. They will enter tournaments and competitive leagues specifically devoted to it, and won’t have time for anything else. If you choose to go down this route, then you will need to find the right game. You will want to pick a popular game with plenty of opportunity for making money, but it should also be a game you are good at and enjoy playing. If you decide to start live-streaming, you may want to have a niche to set you apart from the enormous torrent of streamers out there. Perhaps you will only play horror games or focus solely on RPGs. The choice is yours.
You can’t become a master of any craft without constant practice. You will need to devote several hours of time every week to sharpening your video game skills. You should be playing a variety of different games on a challenging setting and prioritize this activity around work and school. With time you will find your reaction times and strategic thinking skills will improve.
If you want to devote yourself to gaming, you should minimize as many distractions as possible. This means shutting yourself off from the outside world while playing, and turning off phones and other devices to allow you to stay in the zone. It’s all too easy to get sidetracked from playing Madden NFL 21 by picking your phone up to Google search the best Hail Mary’s of all time before ending up in an epic internet wormhole.
Join gaming communities
It’s always a good idea to broaden your network and meet new people in the gaming world. Join as many communities as you can, from internet forums and message boards to attending gaming conventions. Getting good at a game through practice is one thing, but trawling the internet for additional tidbits and strategic advice can prove incredibly useful.
Get the right equipment
You don’t need to spend millions to become a solid gamer, but you should invest in some high-quality equipment. A comfortable gaming chair is one of the best purchases you can make, as it will allow you to play for longer without your back and neck protesting. A good sound system will help you to immerse yourself more fully in the game and shut out distracting background noise. You will also want a sensitive, well-calibrated controller, a good-quality monitor or television with a high-resolution display, and a gaming headset for communicating during online play.
Create the perfect gaming environment
As well as having the right gaming gear, you need to ensure that your gaming environment is perfectly suited to optimizing your performance. Pick a spot in your home where you will endure minimal distractions. This could be your bedroom, or it could be a basement or living. It entirely depends on your living situation and the footfall in your household. This room should be well insulated and comfortable, with the option to turn the lighting bright or dim as required. You should be as comfortable as possible, with plenty of snacks and drinks nearby to keep you fuelled and refreshed throughout those long sessions.
Once you start to get good, you should enter some low-level competitions. This will help you work out what level you are playing at, as well as establishing yourself in the gaming world. You will be able to learn from other, more-skilled players, and it will give you a clearer view of your strengths and weaknesses. Who knows, you may even walk home with some prize money.
Play with experts
Playing with a gamer who is better than you is one of the most efficient ways of gaining new skills. You will be able to see how they approach situations and learn different ways of reacting to in-game stimuli. It can be just as beneficial to play a game with them in cooperative mode as to compete against them, so try to mix it up a bit for the full experience.
Mentor a novice
If you can’t explain a skill to a novice, you haven’t yet mastered it. Mentoring a “noob” is one of the best ways to sharpen your abilities, as it requires you to be able to articulate and demonstrate the factors that make a player great.
Analyze your gameplay
All the best gamers take the time to rewatch their gaming performance and analyze it. Most games and consoles allow you to do this, and it can be an incredibly effective method of assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Use the information to improve your performance and avoid common mistakes in the future.
It is so easy for gaming to go from a passion to an obsession, and you should be careful not to let it overtake your life. It is a sedentary hobby, so you should look after your health by ensuring you get plenty of exercise, sleep well, eat a healthy diet, and drink lots of water. If you neglect your physical or mental wellbeing, your gaming performance will eventually suffer. Watch your posture when playing and try to avoid slouching or hunching. Take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and go for a short walk.
In conclusion, becoming a professional gamer will be difficult and require a lot of work on your part. But if you stick with it and stay active in the gaming world, you will eventually achieve your dreams. Good luck!
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