Do you like to challenge friends or family relatives in video games? With enough dedication and knowledge about how to become a professional gamer, you can become the next esports star.
If that is not interesting enough, being a top gamer guarantees a huge sum of money. It can, in fact, become a full-time job as you win one championship after another. World-class players like N0tail and JerAx have earned millions of dollars from years of competing in tournaments only.
So, do you want to know how to become a pro gamer now? If so, read on to learn some of the basic tips on building a gaming career.
But before we talk about how to become a professional gamer, let’s understand what a pro gamer is and how much you can make from this profession.
What Is A Professional Video Game Player?
Professional gamers are people who play video games competitively to make a living. They are referred to as esports players as well.
Similar to athletes, pro gamers go up against other players in esport tournaments that are held nationally or internationally. Some of the major championships include the Fortnite World Cup, League of Legends World Championship, and ESL Pro League. Keep these names in mind as a motivation for learning how to become a professional gamer.
Players and teams who contest in prominent competitions typically belong to an esports organization, which sponsors them. So, in addition to earning money by winning matches, professional gamers can also get a monthly salary like soccer players who play for a club.
Outside of competing in leagues, esports players’ daily life revolves around activities that support their expertise. They usually comprise of:
- Brainstorming strategies with their team members
- Practicing the skills for games or genres in which they specialize in
- Preparing their body and mind for lengthy gaming sessions
Before we dive into how to become a professional gamer, let’s clear a common misunderstanding related to this occupation: Are gamers who live stream considered esports players too?
Professional Gamer vs Gaming Streamer: What Is The Difference?
While esports players may also do livestreams, they are not to be confused with live streamers who specialize in gaming.
As mentioned in the previous section, pro gamers compete in championships. Their income is mainly from tournament prizes and monthly salaries.
Even after getting famous, esports players still practice how to become a professional gamer. The effort includes attending training, team meetings, and matches. Their life is similar to that of an athlete, if you will.
Gaming streamers, on the other hand, broadcast live content on online platforms like Twitch and YouTube. They do not necessarily need to challenge other livestreamers, though some show the eagerness to beat records in video games they like.
With that in mind, it is possible for streamers to learn how to become a professional gamer as long as they are willing.
Streamers’ means of earning include channel subscriptions, ad revenue, and viewer donations. But they can also make money by selling merchandise or looking for brand sponsorships.
Live streamers hold online events regularly, but with a schedule that they manage individually. They are free to choose where to create content from as well.
Both pro gamers and gaming streamers have their own challenges. If you are interested in becoming a streamer instead, check our article on how to become a game streamer.
Now let’s talk about one more topic before we go into tips on how to become a professional gamer, which is the profitability of the gaming career.
How Much Do Professional Gamers Earn?
Esports players have regular and irregular incomes. The regular one is in the form of annual salaries, while the irregular one comes from prizes and other sources.
Average professional video game players can make between $12,000 to $60,000 a year from their salary. But as with sports teams, esports organizations are willing to pay more for their top performing players. These individuals can earn up to a few hundred thousand Dollars annually. This alone should be enough to persuade hobbyists to learn how to become a professional gamer.
Apart from annual wages, pro gamers mainly earn from prize money, which is divided between team members. The amount varies among tournaments and the popularity of the game played. The more popular the game is, the higher the award can be.
For example, below are the top five games with the highest total prize pools as of this writing according to EsportsEarnings:
|Total Prize Paid to Winners
|Number of Paid Winners
|Number of Tournaments
|Counter Strike: Global Offensive
|League of Legends
|Arena of Valor
Other sources of irregular income for esport players may include:
- Victory bonuses: up to tens of thousands of Dollars per championship
- Brand sponsorships: depends on the sponsorship type, but starts from thousands of Dollars
- Streaming revenue (ads and donations): depending on the number of viewers, it can get up to a few thousand Dollars per month
How to Become A Professional Gamer?
Like other choices of career, becoming a professional video game player requires dedication. Here are some starter tips on how to be a pro gamer:
1. Try Various Games and Stick to The Ones You Enjoy
Video game genres that are played in esports tournaments include MOBA, FPS, and fighting games. Despite the number of categories, however, most players only focus on one option to be able to master it.
Due to that reason, it is important to find a genre that you are passionate about before thinking about how to become a professional gamer. Doing so will make hours that you put into training feel more enjoyable.
If you do not have a favorite genre yet, try a bunch of games. It is best to choose household names, such as Dota and League of legends, since they often stay in the esports scene. However, they are highly competitive, thus can be difficult for beginners to break into.
In contrast, up-and-coming games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds and Rocket League may have less competition than older titles. Nonetheless, their popularity may be short-lived, which does not mean good for your future prospects.
Also, before learning how to become a professional gamer, you should decide on a platform. PC and console gaming are equally popular in the esports community, so the choice falls in your preferences.
Read: 20 Best Games to Stream
2. Invest on High-Quality Gaming Equipment
Professional video game players’ number one asset is their skills. However, it is hard to deny that having the right gears affects the ability to put those skills into use, especially if you play on PC.
So, what kind of equipment do you need when thinking about how to become a professional gamer? As a rule of thumb, esports players train using the same or similar set that tournaments provide. This helps them to get familiar with the high level of visual and tactile response required for victory.
International professional gaming competitions usually use PCs with top-of-the-line build, which typically have the specifications below:
- Intel Core i9 CPU
- 32GB memory
- 2TB SSD storage
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 or other GPUs with similar performance
Meanwhile, regional or entry-level championships commonly use a more economic build that still delivers great performance. If you just begin your journey on how to become a professional gamer, getting a PC with the following specifications is a safe bet:
- Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU
- 16GB memory
- 1TB SSD storage
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 or other GPUs with similar performance
When it comes to display, prestigious gaming events favor monitors that have a 240Hz refresh rate for zero stutter. But you do not necessarily need that. 144Hz screens can still render smooth animation in real time while costing less.
As for other peripherals like keyboards, mice, and console controllers, the choice may differ from one competition to another. So, when learning how to become a professional gamer, try various pro gears and pick the most comfortable one.
For instance, some people prefer mechanical keyboards with a shorter travel distance due to their sensitivity. On the other hand, there are those who swear by full travel keyboards as they are more durable and can prevent accidental keystrokes.
Finding the best settings for your favorite game is equally important. Customized display and control configuration can improve eye and hand coordination, which is essential for fast-paced genres like FPS and battle royale.
Luckily, websites like ProSettings offer a database of top esports champions’ custom settings. While learning how to become a professional gamer, try different settings and see which one works best for your preference.
Read: Game Streaming Setup
3. Practice Regularly
Once you find an enjoyable genre, it is time to focus on it and train on a regular basis. The exercise does not have to be everyday, but within a manageable schedule. For example, you may train four to five days a week for six hours each.
The first step of practicing how to become a professional gamer should be mastering the game mechanics, whether it is aiming in FPS or lining up combos in fighting games. With consistent exercise, you will remember these mechanics in no time.
But that is not enough to turn yourself into a professional video game player. To quickly improve your winning streak, you need to know the meta or most effective tactics of your games.
An example of meta is getting familiar with characters’ strengths and weaknesses in fighting games. Once you memorize them, you can pick the right strategies for a given opponent.
When learning how to become a professional gamer in the FPS genre, meta usually includes studying the vital areas of different maps. That knowledge lets you find perfect sports to ambush your foe.
4. Watch Pro Matches
You have committed yourself to a training schedule and try to find different gaming strategies. Nonetheless, you need the next tip on how to become a pro gamer, which is to observe real matches played at esports championships.
Doing so does not only help you research more approaches to take for beating different kinds of opponents. It also gives you an idea on how to become a professional gamer in top-level championships. You will get to see how fierce the competition is and how players cope with it.
Luckily, watching esports matches does not always require you to be in the venue. Platforms like Steam TV and Twitch allow you to stream live competitions from time to time.
As an alternative, you can follow world-class gamers who are active on Twitch or other streaming platforms and study their content. s1mple, m0NESY, and b1t are some of the champions who are worthy to watch.
5. Connect with Other Gamers
Similar to physical sports, you cannot kickstart a gaming career by yourself. The journey on how to become a professional gamer involves growing with others.
To do that, you need to join one or more communities that align with your genre of game. You can easily find dozens of them online if there are none in your area.
By entering gaming groups, you expose yourself to players with varying levels of expertise. You can learn from the veterans and share knowledge with those who are new to the scene.
But that is not the only benefit of building connections through communities. By doing so, you have fellow gamers to challenge and ask feedback from. In other words, you will be able to learn how to become a professional gamer a lot faster than training alone.
What’s more, having like-minded people by your side helps you to stay motivated. Everyone has struggles to share, and you can support each other by giving the best practices to combat burnout from exercises and losses.
So, how do you find esports groups to join? Reddit is one of the easiest entry points since there are communities for almost everything. Just search for the game or genre that you enjoy on the website and you will find relevant forums to help you on how to become a professional gamer.
Once you get acquainted with the community, you should be able to join their sessions on Discord or similar apps. These apps have a group call for dozens of participants, so they are a great tool for playing together or just discussing new strategies.
6. Play in Local Events or Small Online Competitions
Upon training regularly with community members, you should already gather enough confidence to fight in real tournaments. Nevertheless, it is best to start small to build a foundation for your gaming career.
The first step on how to become a professional gamers is to join local gaming events. In numerous countries, it should be easy to find regional competitions for classic esports titles like Counter Strike, Dota, and League of Legends.
But if they are unavailable in your area, there are still other opportunities on the internet. Faceit and CheckMate Gaming are among the platforms where you can register for online tournaments. The genres that are played vary from FPS to MOBA.
Winning in small or regional tournaments like these will prove your worth to play in larger championships, which is the next stage on how to become a professional gamer. On top of that, you are building a portfolio for finding an esports team to join or looking for potential team members.
Read: What Is MMR in Gaming?
7. Join or Build A Team
While some genres like strategy, fighting, and sports can be played alone, the majority of games in esports require a team. Thus, depending on the category you choose, assembling a professional gaming squad may be necessary.
One of the fastest ways to build your team is through connections and showing your capability in matches, as mentioned in the previous tips. However, while learning how to become a professional gamer, you can also look for teams to join online.
Websites like Seek Team are a place where people look for newcomers to recruit. Not only that, they serve as a tool to showcase your gaming resume to attract potential teams.
Seek Team, in particular, has a pretty vast catalog of teams. You can search squads based on the country, game, or platform.
8. Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing
The best tips on how to become a professional gamer does not only involve grinding in games. When being away from the keyboard or controller, it is important to maintain your wellbeing to avoid digital fatigue.
Gaming constantly under an intense pressure will burn you out in no time. Not to mention, your activities consist of staring at a screen for hours, which is unhealthy for the eyes.
Without a way to combat those conditions, you will get demotivated eventually. You may even get frustrated easily when facing challenges and cuss at opponents, which is a trait that you should avoid at all cost.
If you do not want to let your effort on learning how to become a professional gamer be wasted, start taking care of yourself. The first and simplest step is to have enough social life outside of your gaming routine. It can be in the form of spending some time with family members or friends and enjoying activities together.
Apart from that, do not forget to workout regularly to improve your durability and avoid the physical strain gaming does to your body. Additionally, you may also practice meditation as a method to maintain your calm during matches.
Now You Know How to Become A Professional Gamer
Starting a gaming career takes a long process. However, it can be easier and feel more enjoyable when you are on the right track.
In this article, you have learned some tips about how to be a professional gamer. It starts with finding your passion among different categories of video games and getting the equipment to support your training.
As you put hours into training, do not forget to join esports communities and pay attention to how the pros play a match. These steps will give you enough knowledge and confidence to start participating in tournaments.
How to become a professional gamer also includes maintaining your wellbeing. To keep burnout and physical strain at bay, you need to exercise regularly and have a good amount of social life..
So, are you ready to develop yourself into a professional video game player?