Whether you are new to esports or a longtime fan, you have probably wondered how to get into a team, organization, or even how to become a player. Well, here is your answer.
Over the past two decades, esports has grown to phenomenal heights and is still growing. For something that began as a pastime for children and young adults, esports has become a large industry and a way of life for many around the world.
Fuelled by the fiery passion of fans and players alike, the industry has become quite attractive, inspiring millions to lend their hand in its growth and development. Here is a brief summary of how you can join the industry and play your part.
- How to become an esports player
- How to join an esports team
- How to join the esports community
- How to join an esports league
- How much does an esports player make?
- Other ways to get into the esports industry
- Break into the world of competitive gaming
How to become an esports player
Whether your esport of choice is a team-based game or solo, in order to break into the competitive scene, you need to be a good enough player to catch an organization’s eye. To become a pro gamer is to adopt a professional mindset and plot a career path that aligns with your dreams. But as easy as that sounds, it involves a lot of hard work.
First and foremost are the skills required to play at a high level and this is only achieved through a lot of gaming practice. Make friends with other serious players and join the local community to help you learn and grow. Join a team of amateur players, if it is that kind of esports game, and work your way to the top. It will be hard grueling work, like everything else we touch on in this article, but you will most likely have more fun doing this than some people. Some scenes are more active than others though, but whether you live in North America, the UK, or South Africa, as your gaming prowess improves, your name will travel beyond your community and into the regional and international scenes.
Another quick way to get noticed is to produce content in your chosen esport. Giving back to the community through tutorial videos, guides, and tournament streams is a great way to earn the respect of your peers and further prove your value to an organization looking for a player.
How to join an esports team
The first step to joining an esports team is to become a very good pro gamer. While first-place finishes in past tournaments would probably go a long way if you were instrumental in securing those results, it isn’t the only way. In fact, it isn’t even the most common way. There can only be one winning team at every event, which means all their opponents lost at some point in time. If teams only hired players from winning teams then the talent pool would be constantly empty.
To get picked by an esports team, you need to possess good gaming skills that shine during a match even if you end up losing. Teamwork is also a huge factor as no team can succeed without it. One other thing that is of importance, though, is a charming and respectful personality. Players become brand ambassadors of their teams, so anything they do that is seen in a negative light could hurt the brand and do more damage than your list of accolades could fix.
So, to make yourself an attractive pick for any esports team in the market for players, become a good team player, polish your skills, and build yourself a stellar reputation in the gaming community. In team-based esports like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Dota 2, being a team player is just as important as skill level and experience, as the gameplay of multiple squad mates need to be considered.
How to join the esports community
If you are wondering how to get into the esports community, then it means you either haven’t started playing the game or don’t communicate with the players you meet.
Of all the items discussed in this article, this is the easiest to do but it isn’t something that can be faked. Most people interested in entering the esports industry are fans of the games, the players, and the teams. To count yourself among them means to share the same burning passion for the games as any other fan.
If you aren’t a fan and simply wish to enter the community to further your career or benefit from its rapid growth, then that is okay too. However, bear in mind that you need to know how the games are played, what the biggest names are, and when the next major events are coming. Communities are a group of people with common goals and ideals, so to truly join the esports community, no matter the game, you will need to understand what drives fans and makes them keep coming back for more.
How to join an esports league
Esports leagues come in different shapes and sizes. At the top of the list are the publisher-run franchised leagues, followed by the non-franchised publisher leagues, then publisher-sanctioned leagues in which tournament operators are required to follow a set of specific rules, then we have the community leagues which are open to all.
How much does an esports player make?
How much an esports player makes is determined by a number of factors, such as the discipline, ecosystem, skill bracket, and sometimes even country. It’s also usually a closely guarded secret between the organizations and players.
However, if we are talking about an esport with a franchised league (Call of Duty League, Overwatch League, NBA 2K League, and League of Legends), then we are looking at annual sums that range from $50,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars. This is excluding sponsorships, endorsements, tournament winnings, etc. Expect players in smaller leagues to earn a much smaller salary, even if they do compete in the same games as those mentioned above.
Other disciplines like Dota 2 that have ecosystems that cater to varying skill levels do not pay out salaries as franchised teams do, but their events often have much larger prize pools (from tens to hundreds of thousands and millions). As a result, players in this category earn widely varying sums as well, based on how well they do in each tournament.
Organizations operating in poorer countries will generally have a lower payout since the cost of living between nations varies widely. This also means that the prize pools offered at local events and sums from supplemental income can also have a lot of variances. For example, in a country where the minimum wage is the equivalent of $300, players shouldn’t expect to earn much unless they set their sights on international events and activities.
Other ways to get into the esports industry
Competition is hard and as discouraging as this may sound, you may never be able to make it into an esports team or league. Poor skills may even prevent you from becoming a top player. However, the good news is that you may have the skills required to support the team. The fact is before you try to get the attention of an esports team, figure out what your strengths are and use them to your advantage.
If you’ve accepted the possibility that you aren’t destined to become a pro player or your hopes have already been shattered and you are now ready to use your other talents to become relevant in the industry, then consider other types of organizations that operate in the scene like tournament organizers.
Some companies deal with the infrastructure required to host offline and online tournaments, while others focus on the broadcast, or create the esports games themselves. If fame is what you want then consider becoming a coach. After all, those who can’t do, teach. Commentators, streamers, and analysts also get a lot more than five minutes of fame, so there are several ways to support an esports team by working for an organization that keeps the competitive scene alive, while also garnering some attention yourself.
You might think that playing is all you’re good for but if you have things like management experience (yes, school sports teams count), are good with written words, a confident public speaker, or a great artist, then there might be a job for you in the organization yet. In the world of professional esports, these skills and talents translate into positions in management, editorial teams, public relations, graphic design, and social media. Mind you, that’s only a few droplets from the sea of opportunity.
Use your non-gamer talents to get your foot through the door
Sometimes you really may have the skills but catch a bad break which leads to losing out on a squad position. If you’re really passionate about a particular team and refuse to play for any other organization, then apply for another position that you’re almost certain you will get. Remember that work experience will always count for something and a good track record counts for a lot.
This is a tough path though because after you successfully get the job, you will need to fulfill all your responsibilities to the best of your ability while honing your game skills and looking for every opportunity to show the pro players and management team that you could be more useful ingame. Make sure never to overwork yourself but keep an eye out for that perfect moment that could drastically change your career path.
Break into the world of competitive gaming
Behind all the glitz, glamour, and fame surrounding esports, teams require a lot more than just the players to survive in the harsh business world. Contrary to what some may think, without the support staff, management teams, and even tournament organizers that run things from the background, all the international esports organizations with their impressive brands and followership wouldn’t exist.
To summarise, never relent and be ready to put in all the work. Look for opportunities where there are seemingly none and be prepared to have to work from the very bottom to the top, despite your skill level. It is easier to get into an esports organization after you have built up a good reputation alongside legendary skills, so make sure to constantly improve your people skills. Most importantly, never give up, keep your passion burning and take advantage of your strengths.
Try all this and who knows — your name could end up resounding through the halls of esports and gaming for decades to come.
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