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Esports - How To Go Pro Part 1

If you think you're good enough to go professional and become an Esports athlete, here's everything you need to know before you make the leap.

 

Esports - How To Go Pro Part 1

 

The numbers concerning professional Esports are both massively encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Whilst there is a consistent increase in audiences and the values of prize pools are now extremely significant, only a minute percentage of gamers who want to go pro in Esports will actually succeed. We'll break down the details of this, and figure out how you can beat the 99.9% and forge your own career in pro Esports.

In This Article:

What Percentage Of Gamers Make It As A Pro?

There are a few factors to consider when we're calculating the percentage of gamers who successfully go pro. We could throw around estimates and rehash the same percentages as other websites have done, but if we actually consider the real numbers - your odds are fairly goo when compared to other sports. Not only that, you can increase your odds of going pro, too.

What are the odds?

To figure out the odds of making it as a pro, we can only look at specific games and potential professional earnings for these games. One of the fastest growing Esports games right now is Valorant, so we're going to focus on this as an example.

 

Percentage of gamers who go pro

 

As a direct comparison, we can look at professional football in the UK, just for some perspective. According to former FA Head of Talent Identification, Richard Allen, less than 0.5% of the players aged under 9 who are signed by professional teams, will actually play for the first team in their career. In other words, just 1 player signed by a pro club will be chosen from a maximum of 200. Looking wider still, there are 1.5 million youth players in England, and only 180 - 200 of these players will ever be developed in the Premier League. That's a 1.3% chance of going pro from playing in FA youth football, through academies and finally to the Premier League.

Now, let's compare your chances in Esports. To do so, we need to look at the hard numbers.

  • Number of global Valorant players: 13 million avg. monthly active players
  • Number of professional Valorant players: 250 earning prize money =>$10,844

This would suggest that you have a 1.92% chance of going pro and playing Valorant for a living, making a minimum of five figures per year.

Increasing Your Odds

The above numbers are only based on earning five figures from prize money in tournaments or events. But this isn't the whole story in terms of "going pro".

When it comes to earnings, and what figure differentiates an amateur from a pro, then we can surmise that a professional gamer makes five to six figures per year. There's evidence to suggest that pro gamers make anywhere between £2500 and £3500 per month from their skills. These earnings are not based on prize winnings from just tournaments or events, either. Like all self-employed or freelance careers, revenue can come from may sources, such as team contracts, advertising contracts, coaching or a gamer's own live streams.

Besides this, there are only between 740,000 and 840,000 concurrent players for Valorant, so you're no longer in a crowd of millions trying to get noticed.

So, with the potential to make money from other sources and actual online players, we are no longer looking at a 1.92% chance of going pro (making a living from playing games). It is perfectly conceivable that any player with the skill level it takes to enter and win tournaments will have the necessary skills to coach, get individual sponsorship, or even amass a following on Twitter and Twitch.

There's a wonderful side effect of becoming popular on Twitch and social media, too. You get noticed by teams and sponsors who get to see your skills first hand.

Earning While You Learn

This brings us neatly to how you can support yourself until you make it in the big leagues. Twitch is the obvious contender here, considering they have a focused business model that allows streamers to earn money from their following. Earning revenue on Twitch is not easy, and will take some time to build your following to a point where they will consider you for "Affiliate" status. According to StreamScheme.com, this consists of three milestones: -

  1. The streamer must have at least 50 followers.
  2. The streamer must have streamed for a minimum of 500 minutes over at least seven days in the past month.
  3. The streamer must have maintained an average of at least three concurrent views over the last month.

Once these milestones are hit, you can earn in various ways from the platform, such as a 50% share of monthly subscriptions ($4.99 - $24.99), and Twitch Bits donated by viewers (each Bit = one penny). Without hitting the milestones, you'll be stuck earning from other sources of income outside of the Twitch affiliate program.

 

Streaming on Twitch as a pro gamer

 

Twitch is not the only method of earning as a streamer, though, as we've discussed. There are many ways to earn online as a streamer: -

  • Brand sponsorships
  • Patreon
  • Donations
  • YouTube
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Merchandise
  • Subscriptions
  • Ad revenue

All of these sources of income will support your journey to professional gaming, and if you combine multiple revenues, and enjoy the content creation, you might even consider simply streaming and being an influencer over pursuing a professional gaming career in Esports!

Improving Your Skills

It is vital that on your way to becoming a pro gamer in Esports, you focus on honing your skills in your chosen games. There are multiple ways you can do this, but the most favoured option is employing the services of a coach.

Paid coaching is available from trustworthy sites such as Gamer Sensei, but also from places like Reddit in the r/Valorant subreddit, and in the Valorant Discord where you will find coaches taking on young padewans for free in return for a testimonial. Esports Champions like Fnatic have coaches at their disposal for each team and for each game.

Jakob "YamatoCannon" Mebdi, head coach at Fnatic, enables their League of Legends team to shine by allowing their personalities and playstyle to come through while maintaining an overall strategy. A coach's job is to enhance your individuality while increasing your skill level, which will ensure you have a unique edge going into professional level gaming. If you play the same as everyone else, then your tactics will be easier to spot, so it is important that your playstyle comes through. it is, after all, what makes you an individual.

 

YamatoCannon Head Coach of Fnatic League of Legends

 

"I see my role as I need to make sure that my players are on the path of progression and that they are enabled as much as possible. That’s going to look very different depending on the dynamics and also depending on the individuals. Regardless of how many years of experience [..] needs are going to be different. So it’s a question of paying attention." - YamatoCannon

As with most endeavours, if you are self-taught, you are going to pick up bad habits that you don't even realise you have. From the outside looking in, a professional coach will highlight these traits and help you eradicate them. For instance, you may be a player who loves to flank the enemy team, and opt for this strategy too often, when a head-on approach is best for your team. Similarly, you might just ne a tank who loves getting into the mix, when you should opt for a strategic flanking now and then. Coaches spot these weaknesses easily, and help you change your ways.

Every game is different, and demands various things from a pro gamer. The differences between DOTA 2 and Valorant are vast, which is why players often specialise in playing one role in one game. This allows for mastery and precision learning of skills. In FPS games, headshots are key to winning one-on-one tussles, whereas in a MOBA game like League of Legends, perfect cohesion between teammates, and expert timing play a huge role at every juncture of a match.

With this in mind, you will need a strategy for improving such skills, and this takes practice over and over again, with a regimen you are comfortable with.

 

 

What PCs do pro gamers use?

Thanks to Chillblast's partnership with Fnatic, you now have both and entry level competitive system and a full-on Esports battlestation to choose from, designed and developed alongside Champion pro gamers.

Note: You can read more about these systems in Part 2 of this guide.

The Choice of Champions

Chillblast Fnatic Strike

Chillblast x Fnatic Strike Specification

  • Exclusive Fnatic Customised Case Livery
  • CPU: i5-12400F
  • GPU: RTX 3060
  • RAM: 16GB 3200Mhz Corsair Vengeance RGB
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte B660M DS3H AX D4
  • CPU Cooler: Fractal Lumen RGB 240mm
  • Case: GameMax Commando M-ATX
  • PSU: Corsair RM650 80 Plus Gold 650W
  • M.2: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO PLUS

View Fnatic Strike Pricing

 

Chillblast Fnatic Champion

Chillblast x Fnatic Champion Specification

  • Exclusive Fnatic Customised Case Livery
  • CPU: i7-12700K
  • GPU: RTX 3070 Ti
  • RAM: 32GB 3200Mhz Corsair Vengeance RGB
  • Motherboard: ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI D4
  • CPU Cooler: Fractal Lumen RGB 240mm
  • Case: Fractal Design Define 7 Compact
  • PSU: Fractal Design ION Gold 850W
  • M.2: 2TB Seagate Firecuda 520 M.2

View Fnatic Champion Pricing

 

Coming Up In Part 2...

In the next installment of this article series, we explore how to get noticed, how to network with other players, how to emulate success, and the discuss the gear you need to make it as a pro!