The world is changing, and we have to change with it. There used to be a time when video games were looked down upon as just another mindless hobby that kids of today are doing, when instead they should be studying or playing real sports outside. Those times are long gone, as making a career out of playing video games is not only theoretically possible, but tangible too.

Now, before you throw away your maths books and break your cricket bat in half, understand that, like any field, the success rate is very small and there is a lot of mental and physical effort necessary. The moment you pick up a controller, you’re not entitled to quick cash and instant fame. There are several ways to which you can make a decent living with video games, but we wanted to focus on one area that is expanding rapidly every day: eSports.

Going all the way with eSports

The eSports bubble has well and truly burst. Video games are no longer confined to bedrooms, but instead have expanded to massive arenas across the world. That’s right, people pay good money to watch professional gamers play on the big stage. Usually in 5 x 5 matchups, these tournaments routinely sell out stadiums in Los Angeles, Seoul, and many more major cities, with seven-figure cash prizes achievable. Even the BBC is getting in on broadcasting live events. To get an idea of the pandemonium surrounding eSports, it’s advisable to watch a brilliant five-part series produced by VICE.

DOTA 2, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) are the top three games when it comes to earning potential, but they are also very competitive. If you think you’re pretty good at a game and probably play too much… then rethink everything. The types of professional gamers who compete in eSports tournaments across the world are – let’s be honest – 100 times better than you. But that’s not to say you can’t eventually get to the top. There is no substitute for improving your gameplay other than, well, simply playing a lot.

As for what to play, this list can tell you the amount of tournaments and prize money for each major game, but whatever game you choose, professional players will routinely suggest one thing: to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. Whilst we’re not suggesting throwing in a lamb to fight a lion, you’ve got to progress your level slowly but surely. Keep honing your skills, learn from others, challenge yourself to play against strong opponents, but you have to start small.

First-person shooters like CS: GO are often the first port of call for many eSports gamers, as the controls are simple enough to learn and the action is a lot of fun. However, it is a title well-known for its competitive gameplay and merciless rivals, and this can dissuade many from re-entering the battlegrounds. Because of this, some choose to get a feel for the multiplayer game by playing with those on a similar level via their own gaming server. 1&1 is one place to go if that sounds like your cup of tea, as you’ll have the option to play with people you know and trust, or at least those who don’t shout ‘n00b’ at you (and perhaps more colourful language!).

A real future in eSports

It might seem funny to some, more and more bright and talented teenagers in the United States are gaining scholarships to major colleges via eSports. Jordan Zakrajsek was recently featured on the news due to his acceptance at Lourdes University, where he’ll play on the school’s official eSports team (who will also get their own arena). An incredible League of Legends player, Jordan went through many a chair, keyboard, and mouse whilst playing the game for several years, but his hard work and dedication to the game was paramount to his new-found grant.

However, it’s not just people like Jordan who take their love of gaming to the next level, it’s also folks behind the scenes, like talented games designer Sophia George, who we spoke to a while back. In reality, any aspect of gaming can be a path to an exciting and prosperous career, whether that’s playing professionally, designing, marketing, voice acting, testing, or anything in between. If you’ve got a passion for gaming, then follow it.

So, who still thinks video games are a waste of time now?

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