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How to Become a Professional Gamer

We’ve probably all fantasized about quitting our 9 to 5s to live the dream and become a professional esports gamer. Being paid to play your favorite game all day long? What’s not to love? Wanna know how you can be a professional gamer? Check out these top tips from award-winning gaming equipment brand SteelSeries, loved by esports pros worldwide.

Steps to Becoming a Professional Gamer

Making a living from esports and joining gaming leagues requires hard work and dedication. It's not as simple as quitting your job and playing games all day in your track pants on the couch.

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And even if you’re willing to put the work in to become the absolute best in your game, there’s considerations to make, such as giving up a steady salary. But if you’re committed enough to put in the many, many hours (an excuse to game for more hours? Great! It takes to become good enough to make pro gaming your career, you could earn some serious dollars and live the dream. Check out our top tips to help you on your way to becoming an elite of esports.

1. Find Your Game

To become a pro gamer and really make a career out of it, you’ll need to hone your skills in one game. Only the very best, most exceptional players will become pro gamers and earn money by winning competitions — so it’s no good being a jack of all games and a master of none.

To become a gaming god, practice for many hours. Choose a game you're good at and like, and keep playing it. Sharpen your skills until there ain’t no stopping you. Sharpen your skills until there ain’t no stopping you. Games such as CS:GO, LOL, DOTA 2, Call of Duty, PUBG, and Fortnite have competitive leagues. In these leagues, players can earn money by defeating their opponents.

And because you need to find your game and master it, of course motivation is super important. You’ve really got to love it and give the game your all. If you’re the type that gets bored of a game at the drop of a hat and moves on, a career in pro gaming isn’t for you.

Pick Your Platform

Most competitive gaming is focused on PC as a platform. But picking your platform will depend on which game you choose to become a gaming guru in. If you’re more into console gaming, you still have the option to become a professional gamer, but often the genres are a bit more restrictive.

For example, a lot of console esports competitions are fighting games focused. However, the competitive gaming industry is increasingly diversifying. Leagues for console gamers are becoming more popular, as brands like Nintendo and Microsoft want in on the action of this extremely lucrative industry. So if you’re more into console gaming than PC, now could be a great time to get into pro gaming. Nintendo now hosts a Super Smash Bros tournament, and it was announced in October 2018 that FIFA will have a competitive league, adding another genre to the esports mix and so increasing the presence of console in professional esports, namely PS4 and Xbox.

So if you’re more into console gaming than PC, now could be a great time to get into pro gaming. Nintendo now hosts a Super Smash Bros tournament, and it was announced in October 2018 that FIFA will have a competitive league, adding another genre to the esports mix and so increasing the presence of console in professional esports, namely PS4 and Xbox.

Choose Your Genre

Many hobby gamers like to flit in and out of gaming genres, one day enjoying smashing their opponent quite literally in a fighting game, and the next feeling more thoughtful and delving into the complexities of the strategy genre.

But since we know that only the best of the very best can earn a living out of esports and become pro gamers, it’s important to pick the genre you most enjoy and are best at, and dedicate your gaming hours to it. Pick the genre you’re most motivated by and have the natural skills for, and commit to becoming the absolute best.

2. Get Good at Your Game — Really, Really Good

Keyboard gaming purchase

Becoming a master of your game takes a lot of time commitment, dedication, and of course natural skills for the genre. Hobby gamers will know how quickly time flies when you’re spending an evening after work in front of your screen. So to become a professional gamer, you’ll need to put even more time in (oh no! what a shame! we hear you cry). Natural skills in a genre will of course make becoming a master much easier, and consider what genre you’ve spent most of your gaming hours on. For example, if you’ve played a lot of CS:GO, you’ll have an advantage if you decide you want to build a career as a pro gamer by playing Call of Duty, since similar skills are needed.

Research Strategies and Techniques to Optimize Your Game

An awesome idea to really level up your game from amateur to expert is to always be on the lookout for top tips on new strategies and techniques to optimize your game and play like the pros. There’s tons of guides and tutorials online for tips on specific games. Even things that seem small and maybe insignificant can help give you a competitive edge, such as knowing rifle spray patterns in CS:GO, or how to counter various champions when playing LOL. Read interviews and content from the esports elite and swap ideas with others in your network (more on that later).

Watch Streamers and Professional Competitions

The rise of streaming has allowed the average amateur gamer to get up close to the action, and see in real time how the pros play. It’s an awesome way to pick up important tips and tricks to master your game and be on your way to becoming a professional gamer. In your pursuit of becoming the best, you can’t just have a one-track vision of the game. Esports pros will often deploy ‘out of the box’ approaches to beating their opponents and smashing their game. Those techniques could be more mental things such as a strategy you might never have thought of, or something more physical like a quick wrist or finger movement, or seeing how their gear is set up and configured, that allows them to have the competitive edge. Watching pro streamers and live competitions will help you discover what the meta of the game is.

Network With Other Gamers

Yes it’s corny, but as with most ways to make a living, you gotta network. But put all thoughts of networking at stuffy corporate conferences out of your mind - if you love gaming so much you want to become a pro, it’s going to be much more fun engaging with others who share your passion. On your path to becoming a professional gamer, it’s important to join the right gaming networks and hang out with other gamers so you can practice together - you’ll get tangible real life gaming experience which of course is super important to become the best, but by joining a network you’ll also be able to learn tips and tricks from other gamers. Having a solid network of people who love gaming as much as you will also keep you motivated. As we’ve mentioned, this is really important when you need to dedicate so much time to master your game, and work towards becoming a pro esports gamer.

Invest in the Best Gear

Pro gamer headset

Honing your strategy skills will only get you so far if you want to become a professional gamer. If your gear doesn’t match up, you’re never going to have the competitive edge over your opponents. See your gear as your teammate - you need to work in harmony together for the best results.

If you’re gaming on PC, you should invest in a gaming mouse that has the ultimate precision that can handle rapid fire movements and works with pinpoint accuracy. Always choose a mouse that fits your grip style so you’ll feel comfortable after hours and hours of gameplay, and enables you to make quick-fire movements when you need to.

SteelSeries offers a range of professional grade and multi-award winning gaming mice. Some of the features of the Rival range by SteelSeries include the world’s first true 1 to 1 tracking for pinpoint precision and state-of-the-art lift off detection system, due to TrueMove optical sensors that are world class and approved by pro gamers. All movements are incredibly accurate, with no acceleration, no lag, and absolutely no chance of tracking errors. There’s no point in practising hour after hour if your gear can’t keep up with you and you’re at risk of tracking lags. The SteelSeries Rival 650 Wireless is the most precise wireless mouse on the market - so you don’t need to let a wire get in your way. It features Quantum Wireless™ 1ms lossless performance and the most precise gaming sensor ever made.

Your monitor is also a super important part of your gaming setup. All of you gear needs to work in sync so it can keep up with you and allow you to be the best version of yourself, gamer wise. Ideally your monitor should be a 144Hz monitor with a 1 millisecond response time for the best experience. Your PC itself also should be top spec so it can handle any game without lag or stuttering.

Whether your preferred platform is PC or console, being immersed in the sounds of your game is a key way to play like a pro. Particularly if you’re playing a game like CS:GO or Call of Duty, you need to have a 360 degrees soundscape and be able to hear every little sound - these sounds are your audio clues as to where your enemies may be approaching from.

Arctis Nova Pro Wireless gaming headset

The Arctis Nova gaming headsets by SteelSeries has all the world class specifications you need to help you become a professional gamer. Every Arctis comes with first-class hi-res audio drivers, so you can pick up every sound in the game clearly. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro range can reproduce hi-res audio up to 40,000 Hz, which is nearly double that of most standard headsets - which proves why it’s so important to invest in gear made for gaming.

The headsets in the Arctis range also feature ClearCast mics, which pick up your voice with absolute crystal clear precision and they deliver studio-quality voice clarity. This is super important if you pick a game to become pro in that’s team based - your teammates need to be able to hear you loud and clear. ClearCast mics expertly cancel background noise too, so your teammates can hear your instructions without any without distractions. Many of the SteelSeries gaming headsets loved by esports pros are compatible with PC and console, so you can get the best gear on the market no matter what platform you pick.

3. Join a Team and Go Pro

join a team esports

The next step in your journey to become a professional gamer and leaping towards esports stardom is to join a team. But you’ll have to already be absolutely nailing your game and have built up a solid reputation in the esports community - which is why networking is so important early on. You could also try reaching out to teams and other esports enthusiasts via online forums. By building a sound reputation within your gaming community, you might even be approached by a team and asked to join - but this privilege really is reserved for the best of the best - which is why step 2 of how to become a professional gamer is crucial.

Play in Gaming Leagues and Competitions

Once you’re on your way to mastery of your game, there’s plenty of tournaments and competitions happening year-round to get involved in, either as part of a team or as an individual player. Start off with online leagues such as MLG, ESL and ESEA, and keep an eye out for local esports competitions near you as a starting point.

Rack up those wins and keep your dedication to becoming a professional gamer with the end goal in mind - to be awesome enough at your game to enter pro level competitions and leagues. It’s here that your status as a true pro esports gamer is made, and it’s only here where you can earn the big bucks and make a solid career out of pro gaming.

Compete in Tournaments

The key difference between an esports league and a tournament, just with other more traditional sports, is that a league is generally played over a longer period of time, and players gain or lose points or rank in each game played with the goal of working their way to the top of the league.

An esports tournament is usually played over a much shorter time frame, and as a rule is more of a last man standing competition - once you lose, you’re out. Some games lend themselves more to this type of competition, such as Fortnite or Counter Strike. Start by entering smaller online tournaments, but once you’ve smashed these and further built up your reputation, play with the big guns in tournaments such as the League of Legends World Championships, Intel Extreme Masters or ESL.

The next step is to compete in live events - there’s always something going on around the world that you can get involved in at this level. Thousands of esports fans turn up to a venue to watch you play - and this is where you’ll have a chance at earning those big pay cheques you’re probably dreaming about - but you gotta be in it to win it.

4. Get a Sponsorship

esports sponsor

It’s safe to say that winning live events will earn you a hella big check, but it’s not a guaranteed way of earning a steady income. The answer to this? Get yourself a sponsorship deal. Big brands in the esports industry will pay you to use their gear and wear their merch when you’re competing, particularly in live events. That way they get their name out there and they get to be associated with the best esports pros in the world.

Still Want to Be a Pro Gamer?

Ok, we’ve made it sound kinda easy in this guide on how to become a professional gamer in just several ‘easy’ steps - but in reality it can be hard to break into the industry and to really make a career out of it. Only the most exceptional players will ever make it. But that’s not to say it’s impossible - many have turned their dreams of playing full-time into a reality with some hard work, dedication, and a ton of hours of practice in the bank - as if we need an excuse to play more. See you on the battlefield.

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