The field of professional eSports has grown tremendously over the past decade. People who were once yelled at by their folks for spending too much time playing video games are now making successful careers out of their hobby. While making a living as a pro-gamer soundslike the best gig around, and this is accurate—the pros are super appealing—there are some drawbacks as well. Let’s take a look at what is going to make you want to quit your day job, first.
If you have ever been told to turn off the game and get a real job, give the naysayers this statistic: The top 500 players in the world all make six figures; the top 50 players all make $100+ million, andthe top 5 players all make over $3 million annually. Of course, not everyone has the chops to go pro, but, for those who do, the paydayis pretty nice.
Not only is there money in it for the elite gamers but there’s also travel opportunities all around the world. While some tournaments take place entirely online, others are LAN (local area network) events which meanseveryone must be present to play because they are all on the same network. Tournaments happen in countries all over the world, and, while everyone wants to get their hands on the cash, being able to travel the globeis a sweet perk in and of itself.
Respect and Notoriety
Just like any other sport, eSports professionalshave fans and groupies that follow them. There are some gamers who are more popular than others, and the better someone is, themore sponsorships and fans they have. The gaming community is close-knit, andgamers develop a fair amount of respect for one another.
Socialization is a hugebenefit to being a professional gamer, which is something parents of young gamers are often worried about. Many mums and dads worry that if their kids are staring at a computer or television screen all day, they are not developing relationships and social skills that are important in adolescent years. Many gamers develop tight relationships with others all around the world that end up lasting throughout their lives, and sometimes they even get to travel together and make memories that others never experience.
For those who spend all their time with their friends honing their craft online, they are avoiding other harmful activities that many teenagers and young adults indulge in, such as drugs and alcohol. In addition, many young people spend time with their friends just starring at their phones and not communicating with each other.
For gamers, their entire relationship is built on verbal communication; they develop stronger communication skills because of the need to relay specific information back and forth. Any downtime they may have is spent vaping between games and connecting with their peers on the latest vaping tricks,e-liquidflavours, and hardware.
Brain and Motor Skills Development
Not only do social and communication skills benefit from the online friendships built while gaming, but brain development increases as well. Gamers exercise spatial reasoning, situational awareness, decision-making, critical thinking, memory, and hand-eye coordination every day. These areas of the brain are being strengthened, and the ability to relay these ideas to others, are developed as well.
In terms of motor skills, professional gamers utilise more movements per minute than the average person by about four times; not only is movement increased, but each hand is doing different movements, andvarious areas of the brain are all being used at the same time. Some may be shocked to know that professional gamers undergo as much body and brain stress as other professional athletes, if not more. Also, like other athletes, youth has an edge; most professional gamers retire in their mid-20s due to slightly delayed reflexes compared to their younger competitors.
Just like any athlete, the time that it takes to become a professional gamer is excessive. Most pros have 12-15 hour days of working, between practising, streaming live for fans and followers, and hosting lessons for other players. Many eSports professionals are on pro teams, so part of the day is spent strategising with the team as well.
There are no days off for professional gamers. While they don’t have to work every day, each day they do not is a day that someone is edging them out or a day their fans and followers are getting lessons from or streaming other players.
Gamers are generally sitting their entire day, they are using their hands in opposing motions throughout the day, wrist movements are abnormal when compared to the general public, and eyes are staring at a screen all day. Two of the most common ailments for gamers are carpal tunnel syndrome (narrowing of the carpal tunnel in the wrist, which causes nerves to hit the bones), and tennis elbow (inflammation of the tendons in the elbow from overuse). Many gamers develop back problems from sitting all day, as well as eye strain from excessive screen-time.
Another common problem for gamers is obesity. Many gamers run on energy drinks and junk food, rather than getting a well-balanced meal; and it goes without saying that staring at a screen all day doesn’t leave much room for physical activity. Because of poor diet and a lack of exercise, many gamers tend to be overweight.
Of course, there are mental health considerationsas well, both positive and negative. There can be a lot of bullying in the online world, and this is the case with gaming as well, though more-so in the non-professional realm. Just like any other avenue for online bullying, gamers have become suicidal over the abuse they endure. However, some pro and non-pro gamers state the feeling of accomplishment they get from gaming and the camaraderie they experience help them to overcome symptoms of their mental health conditions.
Hard to Make a Living
While there are immensely successful professional gamers, the chances of being one of the high-rollers isslim. The top elite dedicatetheir entire lives to gaming, strategising, marketing themselves, building a fanbase, and studying what others are doing. The more time a person has put into their craft, the more successful they are likely to be. However, they must get into the right circles, sonetworking is important as well.
Even for someone who can break into the pro circuit, it’s not exactly a job that comes with lifelong benefits. Someone who is interested in breaking into pro-gaming should have a backup plan—most pros only make it to their mid-20s before throwing in the towel.
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