Anyone who loves video games has probably wondered many times how it is possible to become a professional gamer. Whether you prefer to play alone or as a team, there are guidelines you can follow to start your professional career.
10 Steps to Become a Professional Gamer
Find your Reasons
Like everything else in life, it’s important to play for the right reasons. The love of competition, the satisfaction of growing as a gamer and the sense of belonging to a team or community are all good reasons to play.
In the long term, positive motivations are what keep you focused on your goals. Gamers motivated by money, fame and quick success, on the other hand, will probably run out of enthusiasm before they even go pro. Loving video games makes all the difference when you have to train every day to gradually acquire the skills necessary to become a professional.
Choose Your Game
The next step is to find your game. Here you can follow two paths: choose an emerging game or an already established title.
The advantage of choosing an already established game like eSport is that infrastructure and resources are already able to support professional gaming. Long-standing eSport titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) have large, dedicated gamer pools and, as a result, sponsored tournaments with lucrative prizes. The flip side of the coin is that newcomers have more difficulty in establishing themselves in such established scenarios.
When a game is in its infancy, gamers have the opportunity to be the first to explore every internal and external aspect, encouraging unpredictability and the emergence of different game styles. Pioneer players of titles like Rocket League2 and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds3, for example, have found themselves projected into the Olympus of eSports. That said, there’s also the risk that one game won’t take off competitively, forcing you to move on to another.
Our advice is to try a few and choose the one you like best. Remember that you’ll have to play it a lot.
Live the Community
As much as professional gaming is based on individual talent, the culture surrounding the game cannot be ignored. Before devoting hours and hours to learning the details of a specific game, spend some time in the forums and other player meeting places. This experience will give you more guidance on the path to follow and you will better understand if your career as a professional gamer really fits your personal goals and motivations.
Living the community of a game is essential to advancing your career, so look assiduously for comparison with other players. First and foremost, bulletin boards, forums and YouTube channels are great places to discover and explore the most hidden aspects of a game. Players need to interact with each other to closely follow the evolution of the game and analyze every detail, helping to grow the community to which they belong.
In addition, the community is a strong motivation to maintain interest in a long-term game.
Upgrade your Equipment
Make sure you play with the right equipment, starting with a good gaming mouse and a mechanical keyboard. When it comes to peripherals, the options are countless, separated by size, format and sensitivity, but it’s best to simply choose the one that suits you best. To get an idea, listen to what eSport professionals say about the peripherals they use.
Whichever device you choose, it’s a good idea to always use the same mouse and keyboard. Just see what the pros do. The equipment they use to train is the same equipment they use to compete on stage. Familiarity with your peripherals simplifies the transition to a competitive environment where tension and pressure can play tricks.
Consistency is also important when it comes to hardware. Professional event organizers wisely choose system components that won’t hinder gameplay with fluctuating delays or frame rates. The performance of your gaming notebook or gaming PC must be up to the task. For more information on how to improve your gaming experience, see our guides on processors, gaming monitors and storage.
With in-game matchmaking and premium third-party matchmaking services like ESEA, it’s easy to find someone to play with. But if you want to win, you need to practice.
First, get familiar with the mechanics of the game. Focus on learning game-specific skills until they take root in your muscle memory. Whether it’s hitting last in a MOBA, aiming accurately in an FPS, or maximizing action per minute in an RTS, these skills never lose their importance. Professional gamers train tirelessly on mechanics to stay competitive and improve little by little, but players who are just getting started need a lot of practice to improve quickly.
As you hone your skills, start looking for a general strategy for the game. A good eSport has several levels of strategy, ranging from situational strategy, such as the role of a jungler lurking between lanes, to higher level goals. Understanding your role in a given situation is a good starting point, as the goal exploited by professionals, such as the almost invincible GOATS strategy that dominated Season 1 of the Overwatch League, can be too complicated for beginners.
However, there is much to learn by watching the best players. Video and live streaming are great resources for learning game techniques and are a good reference for understanding how to play.
Later, as you progress, reviewing your own games will allow you to thoroughly analyze your playing style and learn from your mistakes. All the best players do this.
One Step at a Time
To become a professional you need a strong desire to win at every stage of the competition. This means dominating the board in the preliminary stages, climbing the ranks in matchmaking and being the last team in the tournament.
Become familiar with the competition level hierarchy, because each eSport has its own system for involving new players. In CS:GO, for example, a player usually moves from public matches to matchmaking and then to leagues and tournaments. Each eSport has its own process.
Climbing the rankings allows young players to make a name for themselves. It can also help them find a place on an amateur team (or a secondary community for single player games), which in turn can serve as a stepping stone to a professional gaming organization.
Find a Team
Once you’ve earned yourself a reputation as a valid gamer, find a team. Playing alongside other gamers, especially if they are better than you or with different skills, is one of the most valuable experiences a player can have.
If you are really good, a team will probably notice you. If not, you try to contact them. The Team find website, for example, has forums and tools to communicate with teams and players. Discord servers, Subreddit and Steam groups are also preferential recruitment environments for amateur teams.
For team games like CS:GO and Dota 2 it is essential to learn how to play well with other players. So find a role you like and a group of players to bond with. But also for single player games like Hearthstone or StarCraft 2 it is useful to interact with communities of this type.
Compete and Get Noticed
Being good at games isn’t everything. You also need to make connections that can help you climb the competition ranks. Once you find your place in more competitive organizations, start networking. Set yourself up as a quality opponent to connect with the best players.
Building relationships with stronger players can lead to great opportunities, such as invitations to private Discord channels, where you’ll have the chance to play in exclusive scrims and play side by side with elite players. It is in environments like these that players can get noticed by professional organizations.
Keep your Balance
At this stage when a certain tendency towards obsessive practice is spreading in eSports, professionals must learn to balance their training programs with off-screen activities. According to the professional gamers we interviewed, a holistic approach to practice that includes proper nutrition, exercise and an active social life, improves concentration and prevents excessive stress. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will allow you to stay motivated long enough to develop the skills that will ultimately impress professional organisations.
Live Like a Professional
Becoming a professional gamer takes years of hard work and practice, but constant application is not everything. To grow as a gamer, it is important to take a holistic approach to training, including establishing social relationships, increasing knowledge of the game, finding positive sources of motivation and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Follow these principles and you will certainly see improvements inside and outside the game.