- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
How to Become a Successful Pro Gamer
So, You Want to Become a Professional Gamer?
It's definitely a question which has rummaged through the mind of any gamer when they first discovered that people actually did it for a living. From the ages of twelve to forty-four, there are tons of gamers who think of why they can't be a professional gamer. It's the perfect job, right? You get to have fun, play games, and get paid to do it. However, being a pro gamer is not all fun and games - there is actual work and dedication involved, just like any other job.
Being a professional gamer is not something that happens just overnight either. There may be a few exceptions to the rule, but most professional gamers went though years of grueling gaming and competitions before they were brought under the folds of a sponsor. Once sponsored, you then have to get yourself out there and involved within the gaming community, spending a lot of time traveling and competing, and getting your sponsor's name out there. Your sponsors dictate a lot of what you do each year, and obviously the more you compete the more money and prizes you could possibly win.
However, being completely uneducated as to what they went through, makes your job of becoming a pro gamer that much harder. You have no clue as to how they got to where they are, and that makes your journey longer and more difficult. So, we will work to increase your chances, and hopefully shorten that journey a little, by guiding you through some obstacles, and showing you the doors that you need to go through in order to build your online gaming presence and to get noticed within the community.
Get the Right Games on Amazon
Competitive gaming requires that you play the games which have the most activity out there in regards to competitions. First person shooter games, or FPS games, are the biggest and baddest out there. They are the games which are making the most money, getting the most exposure at gaming conventions, and having the most available tournaments at your local and national levels.
You can buy them new or used at Amazon.com, or at your local video game retailer as well. Best Buy just started to take used games in for re-sale, but Play-N-Trade is also a popular venue for used games, as well as Slackers. However, Amazon pre-order always gives you new game titles a day earlier than the release date and gives you a discount for the pre-order if you have an Amazon Prime membership!
A little research may also turn up a privately owned store, and I'm a heavy supporter for local businesses, so shop there when you can. You can even buy the digital download copy from Xbox and PS marketplaces. Just be sure to get an external hard-drive and format it properly following media formatting instructions, as you may need more than the 500GB to hold all of the game titles that you want to stream and you don't want to waste time downloading games plus all add-ons for the game title in order to stream.
Start Streaming + YouTube + Social Media
The best thing to get yourself out there, and to start monetizing your gaming accomplishments, is to start streaming your gaming sessions. With the correct setup configuration, you can start streaming your gaming sessions via Mixer.com or Twitch.tv and getting some of your gaming exploits out there for people to see. If you also capture your gaming session as a video file, you can then edit it, add a nice video & music branded introduction, and then close with a sponsor promotion. This video you can then upload to your YouTube channel, that you will have to create and brand around your GamerTag. I recommend creating a gamer-tag that isn't taken across platforms that you choose to play in, which may take some planning and coordination with creating of your accounts. Otherwise, you will have to pay to rename your gamer-tag to be the final one you wish to use across all platforms. If you're going to be a single-platform gamer, then you only need to get the one you wish to use on that platform only, and you're ready to start branding yourself immediately.
Some top streamers that you may want to look to as examples of what kind of style you want to brand yourself as, as well as how to create videos and promote sponsors, are xSHEWULFx , ThugLyfeGaming , and Syko. All three of these streamers are on Mixer.com, and each one has a different format in regards to how they stream, how they brand themselves, as well as how they promote their sponsors. They stay true to themselves, the games that they like, as well as who they are. By being yourself, you are a more powerful force in regards to how you game, stream, and promote. Just be sure to work with other community members to learn about streaming, help to promote those community members who help you, and try to keep everything rated G, PG, or PG-13. Sponsors have some leeway in regards to behavior, and some will be willing to accept more risqué behaviors than others. However, certain in-game communications and behaviors can lose you sponsors or sponsorship opportunities.
You want to keep sponsors happy, and try to involve them as much as possible without being too much of a salesperson. Just be natural about when you mention them, try to include them in your social features within the stream platform, and answer question about your sponsors products when asked. Try to get free product for give-aways is a great place to start, and you want to promote those give-aways at least a week in advance on all social media accounts used to promote yourself as a gamer. This gives everyone time to get the word out, and for people to plan being present when you're live-streaming for the give-away announcement.
Join The Competition
Sometimes it's just a good idea to jump in head first. Playing competitively online will achieve just that. So, you have to create an account on the top competition websites available, and get some play time for some free competitions in order to build up your site ranking. This allows you to have more clout whenever you meet and talk with people in the future, as well as allows you to be recruited by someone further down the road. No travel is involved, and you can play from the comfort of your own living room.
Free for all type matches should be what you're looking for in the beginning. It is a fast-paced match where everyone is out for themselves - the lack of friends will speed up your in-game reaction time in order to prepare you for competition and develop your gaming skills at the same time. You can worry about team competition later on. In the beginning, you must build your stats and your in-game reputation. Plus, you want to get as many wins beneath your belt as possible. Being a "free agent" isn't that bad, and being a good one can be fun when you have tons of teams trying to recruit you.
Game Battles - By far the most popular gaming competition website to date. It has the largest member base, has tons of impromptu challenge matches, as well as their "Ladder Matches" that can allow your team to climb to the top of their rankings. I have played many matches on Game Battles without issue, but I have also had bad experiences with their "honor-system". The website is clean, and they obviously have ample funding and sponsorship, but the site also has some quality issues:
1) Support Tickets - Can take a very long time to get resolved.
2) Honor System - One member from each team has to track points in game as well as identify if anyone is cheating or going outside the rules of the match. If there is a disagreement between the two teams, then a support ticket must be submitted. Unfortunately, not every player or team is honorable.
Top 10 eSports Games!
Get The Tools of the Trade
If you want to avoid getting shot or stabbed in the back in game, you may want to invest in a gaming headset. They cover both ears, unlike the normal wired headset or Bluetooth headset that you can buy. This enables you to have total surround sound of the game, and helps to block out any ambient noise in the room around you. What this means for you, is that even the slightest sound within the game comes across your headset, and can mean the difference between you hearing someone coming or having another in-game death.
There are some more expensive models out there, but these will definitely do the trick. The more expensive models have better hardware, and better frequency ranges (closer to human hearing range of 10Hz - 10kHz) to allow for a highly realistic experience. However, if you do well enough as a player as your career advances, one day a sponsor will most likely give you one of the best models out there just so you'll perform better, or because it's their headset that they want to be seen on you while you're playing!
Join a Clan
Joining a good team can also gain you public recognition simply by association. Players who have never met you before may like you or hate you simply because of your clan affiliation. A clan that has a good reputation in the gaming community will find that its members get treated with more respect. Plus, a lot of recruiters look at these "top clans" for new talent to join their ranks and promote their products. They are looking at the "creme de la creme" to see which one would be the best representative for them and their product(s).
Another benefit of being a clan member is that being a part of a highly competitive team can also develop your gaming skills. Some friendly inter clan head to head matches with some of the best players online can really step up your game a bit. So, not only will you be developing your abilities of working with a team, but you will also develop your skills as an individual. Remember, keep it positive and keep it clean. One bad comment in a match by a clan member can ruin a clan's reputation - some sponsors recruit players online and in-game! So, that negative comment could be heard by a recruiter, and could cost you an opportunity or many opportunities down the road. They are looking within teams with good reputations because they want reputable people to work for them - they want to keep negative exposure to a minimum, just like anyone else. So, be professional, and assume that someone is always watching.
Finding the right clan for you is a personal journey. It's like trying to find your favorite restaurant or vacation spot. You'll rarely get it on the first try, and will most likely hit a few duds along the way. However, when you find the one that is right for you you'll feel "right as rain". (To quote The Matrix). You'll feel right at home with the players, will get along with them, and will simply "click" with them when you're gaming. You won't mind spending a few hour online line with them 1 - 2 days a week, or more often than that eventually. In the end, it's like being a part of a new family.
Good Clan Examples:
Ladies 2 Die 4 & Die 4 My Ladies - An all-girl clan with attitude, Ladies 2 Die 4 and Die 4 My Ladies (or Die 4 Us) are rapidly making their way towards achieving top female gamer status. An excellent mixture of different gaming styles, title experience, and pro-gaming experience, Die 4 Us has earned their way onto our short-list of recommended clans.
Havok Gaming - A down and dirty, hard-hitting, and professional clan, Havok Gaming has earned a good reputation in the gaming community. They have proven time and time again to be consistent during tournaments and game-play, and deliver when they make promises to sponsors and gaming community sites. A recommended clan for those who like to walk the fine line of professional game-play & all out war!
Be an Active Gamer & Be Professional
Last, but not least, be an active gamer. Start gaming one day a week, or night a week. Make it the same time each day, for 1 - 2 hours. This "schedule" will get you ready for what you'll need to do once you get involved with a clan. Clans, overall, have scheduled practice times during the week. They either require you to make one or all of them, so you want to get used to scheduling your game time. Plus, it allows you to ensure that your game time doesn't interfere with the rest of your life. You learn to schedule it, just as you would any other activity.
Be a consistent gamer. Show up at practice each and every week. There will be exceptions, due to family emergencies or work issues that cannot be avoided. However, make up the practice by attending both practices the following week if that's possible. Show your clan that you're dedicated, so that whenever opportunities come up for tournaments they will want to pick you to go. You want to be there for your team, so that they will know that they can depend upon you.
Impromptu practices aren't frowned upon, but keep them to an hour. You want your gaming to be a developed skill, and not just some extra time that you're trying to kill - or because you have nothing better to do. Find other things to do - exercise, clean your house, work in your yard, run errands, or whatever you may have on your to-do list for that week. Treat your gaming like it's a job or a hobby, and your mindset will lock into a developmental mode when it comes to it. You will care more about improving yourself subconsciously when it comes to gaming just because you're treating it like a job. Think of it like learning how to play an instrument - you have your scheduled practice times, and you practice for a set amount of time on the same days each week - and as time progresses you'll get better and better. Improvement comes from the desire to improve, and that is what you want to instill upon yourself.
Make a Good Impression on the Gaming Industry!
Leave your mark, post your ideas, share your gaming experiences, and post a link to your clan's website! Once you have your favorite game, are an established player, and know that you can hold your own, start promoting your Mixer or Twitch channel on your social media profiles, and publishing videos of your gaming feats on YouTube more frequently. Xbox allows your to record gaming moments with the "Xbox Record That" command via the Connect, and you can then edit your videos later on and publish them for other gamers to see. The goal is to put amazing and entertaining gaming videos out there for others to enjoy, that there are a lot of them for gamers to find, and to make a good impression of yourself upon other gamers.