Forbes recently reported esports industry is expecting 2018 revenues hit $905 million. That’s a 38 percent increase on the $655 million the industry generated in 2017. Thus, it’s perhaps unsurprising that an increasing number of teens and young adults are looking at the burgeoning industry for work.
State of the industry
The appeal is obvious. Esports is hugely popular with both men and women in that particular age demographic. Fans who don’t compete still watch in droves on Twitch and support the industry financially by purchasing passes for big tournaments. (And don’t forget merch.)
Esports has never been stabler at its highest level. There are franchising models and financial groups paying $20 million for Overwatch teams. As a result, confidence in the industry is high. That’s the reason so many top-level sponsors are clamoring to get involved in the industry.
The draw for a teenager thinking about a future career is crystal clear. However, there will only ever be a small percentage of gamers with the skill and dedication to top their particular fields. That’s a cold reality, but it doesn’t mean the windows into other careers in esports remain so narrow.
Other key roles in the esports industry
The British Esports Association has already recognised how the burgeoning esports industry has created plentiful opportunities for careers. On its website, the BEA lists a number of different jobs available within the industry beyond that of an elite gamer.
Here’s a taste:
- Broadcast and Production
- Community Manager
- Event Manager
- Journalist/Content Creator
- Organisation Manager
- Product Manager
- Recruitment/Human Resources Manager
Yet there are also plenty of other opportunities for careers within offshoot industries that have direct ties to esports. Consider the following:
- Game Design
- Roles in Publishing and Developing Esports Games
- Roles in the Esports Betting industry
- Hospitality (particularly at large-scale esports tournaments and events)
Furthermore, the British Esports Association also offers advice for people keen on a career in esports as well as useful links to job sites.
That’s fine, but I want to be a gamer
OK fine, here goes. We did warn you about the odds. Becoming a professional gamer isn’t impossible. However, to do so, you will need to have certain skills and qualities.
Like it or not, some people are just born better gamers than others. Their brains may be able to process information more quickly; they may have more subtle touch on the controller; their hand-eye coordination may just be otherworldly.
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Some of this talent is genetic, but the good news is that talent also develops fluidly by showing dedication to your chosen game and putting in the weeks, months, and years of practice it takes to become an elite player. This brings us on to our second quality.
Have you ever played a game against a player who was just flat-out better than you? Maybe they bested you at every turn until you rage-quit. Nearly all gamers have experienced this once or twice. We’ve all been the “noob” in a game where everything is a bit of a blur and you’ve racked up 20 times more deaths than kills.
How you react to this will determine whether you have a future as an esports gamer. The top-level players will never rage-quit, but they will use what happened as a tool to improve. They will analyse their own shortfallings and observe the superior strategy the other player employed.
It is this tenacious attitude that earmarks the good gamers from the great, and the great from the elite.
At this time, trying to break into the elite teams for certain esports, such as Dota 2, League of Legends, or Counter Strike: Global Offensive is very difficult indeed. That’s not to say it is impossible, but you would have to prove yourself the better of one of the best players in the world to stand a chance of earning a spot on a roster.
However, the nature of esports is such that new games are always in development, and new esport formats have and will grow in popularity. The Overwatch League recently started, and it picked from a relatively unknown crop of players. The forthcoming NBA Esports League also held trials for players that involved tens of thousands of hopefuls.
Your chances of becoming a professional gamer therefore also hinge on the esport that you decide to play and the stage of development at which that esport stands.
Like any top professional in a competitive environment, luck can play a key role in becoming a top-level player. The problem with luck is that you can’t control it; what you can control is how well you deal with it and how well you are prepared yourself for the challenges becoming professional entails.
Whether you are a gamer, or somebody seeking another route into esports, the great news for you is that this is a growing industry. Demand for these roles will, for the foreseeable future, only increase.