AROUND half of all Britons play video games in some form, although the vast majority do it just for fun. It has become one of the country’s most popular hobbies, with some enjoying the opportunity to spend time with their friends, let off steam or test their skills.
Others dream of turning this passion into their profession.
There are plenty of ways you can channel your love of gaming into a career, such as game design, project management, game testing, or even working in a video store. Getting into one of these jobs involves applying just like any other traditional role like the one for the Commonwealth Games.
More recently, however, a new line of work has opened up for the most talented players – esports.
But is playing video games professionally really a viable career option, especially for folks here in Solihull?
What are esports?
Esports are competitions that operate in a similar way to any traditional sport such as football, golf or tennis.
Instead of involving physical activity on a field, track, or track, esports players compete in a video game.
Some of the most popular esports include online poker, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Fortnite, Dota 2, and Rocket League.
Sometimes they take the form of a competition, running over several weeks or months, while sometimes they are held as a knockout tournament scheduled over just a few days.
Players participating in esports events compete for a prize, which can be cash, a physical item, or anything else of value.
How do Esports players differ from normal gameplay?
Esports players almost always compete in retail versions of video games.
However, certain rules may apply to guarantee and/or create fair gameplay.
This is because developers and publishers want their esports titles to mirror the games that consumers can buy, as it acts as a form of advertising for them.
Players can battle online or on a couch with computers or consoles in a location.
The biggest esports events take place in large arenas where you would expect to see a basketball game or a concert.
Therefore, normal video games and esports are essentially the same, just due to the fact that the latter usually has a prize and draws an audience.
Who Can Participate in Esports?
Some esports events are open to everyone.
For example, in online poker, most players can enjoy online events such as Spin & Go Max, Sunday Warm-Up and Zoom.
They just need to have an account with the poker site hosting the event and meet the eligibility criteria.
Other esports events have a public qualifying round prior to the closed main event.
This is the case in the F1 Esports Series, where registrations opened in October 2021 for players to compete in a scenario where they would start in 5th place towards the end of a Grand Prix and try to take as many places as possible.
Anyone could join, provided they had the F1 2021 video game and a PSN, Xbox Live or Steam account.
However, most elite esports events are by invitation only.
Successful teams have grown into large corporations and have attracted many of the best players in the world.
This allows them to earn spots in many of the most prestigious and highest paying leagues.
How can you build a career in esports?
Getting a career in esports requires a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.
The percentage of people who become successful is comparable to that of other professional sports such as football or basketball.
This is because so many people compete for so few positions, so only the absolute best deserve a spot.
If you’re willing to commit, you should spend a lot of time practicing your chosen video game(s).
At the same time, you need to build a reputation in the esports community, join social media groups, participate in discussions and share your game footage online.
It’s also a good idea to participate in open events to build your experience.
Many esports teams are offering tryouts again, similar to how professional sports teams operate.
Once you feel your skills are up to scratch, you can throw your hat in the ring of one of these.
Is it a viable path?
Being a professional esports player is the dream of many gamers. But as with football, there are far fewer places than people to fill them.
So it’s definitely a viable path for gamers who are wildly talented, but it’s going to be important to stay realistic about your odds.