In the ‘70s, the prize for an esports tournament was a subscription to Rolling Stone. Today, professional gamers can make millions.
How to Become a Professional Gamer
Becoming a professional gamer takes passion and practice. If you’re reading this article, chances are you already have a passion for gaming. Next, you need to ask:
- What types of games do you like?
- Which games are popular in the tournament circuit?
- How do you want to play?
- Who do you want to play with?
For example, if you’re into first-person shooters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments have paid more than $139 million since 2012. You’ll find with some quick research that most esports take place on the PC, so while you can compete with consoles such as Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X, you have more of a chance of becoming a professional gamer if you get comfortable with the PC.
That leaves the last question: Who do you like to play with? There is space in tournaments for teams and solo players, so it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to start a team, join a team, or tackle this venture on your own.
Expect to cut your teeth in the amateur circuit. Then, as The Game Haus mentions, if you prove your abilities, you’ll likely catch the attention of a professional team.
Most Lucrative Games for Professional Gamers
The top five money makers for professional gamers are Dota 2, Fortnite, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, and Arena of Valor, according to esportsearnings.com.
- Dota 2 players have been awarded more than $290 million from 1,687 tournaments since 2011. The largest prize pool ($40 million) occurred during The International 2021.
- Fortnite players have been awarded more than $141 million from 857 tournaments since 2018. The largest prize pool ($15 million) occurred during the World Cup Finals in 2019.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players have been awarded more than $139 million from 6,388 tournaments since 2012. The largest prize pool ($2 million) occurred during the PGL Major Stockholm 2021.
- League of Legends players have been awarded more than $95 million from 2,740 tournaments since 2010. The largest prize pool ($6.5 million) occurred during the 2018 World Championship.
- Arena of Valor players have been awarded more than $57 million from 113 tournaments since 2016. The largest prize pool ($7.7 million) occurred during the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup 2021.
However, if you’re nervous about starting in such a big pond, or those games just don’t appeal to you, the following are also big earners for professional gamers. Find them all at Green Man Gaming.
Other Lucrative Games for Professional Gamers
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare players have been awarded more than $7.5 million from 81 tournaments since 2019. The largest prize pool ($4.6 million) occurred during the Call of Duty League Championship 2020.
- Halo Infinite players have been awarded more than $1 million from 23 tournaments since 2021. The largest prize pool ($355k) occurred during the HCS Kansas City Major 2022.
- Madden NFL 22 players have been awarded $1 million from one tournament during Ultimate Madden Bowl 2022.
- Street Fighter V players have been awarded more than $2 million from 131 tournaments since 2016. The largest pool ($380k) occurred during Capcom Cup 2017.
- FIFA 22 players have been awarded more than $1 million from 9 tournaments. The largest pool ($500k) occurred during FIFA eWorld Cup 2022.
Like any career, becoming a professional gamer takes hard work and dedication. Think carefully about which game and platform interest you, study successful esports players on Twitch and YouTube, and practice. With any luck, you’ll see your first tournament—and payout—within a few months.