Thomas “Tsquared” Taylor appeared on over 175 million bottles of Dr. Pepper to increase awareness about MLG (Major League Gaming) within the U.S. in 2008-2009. Dennis “Thresh” Fong won id software co-founder John D Carmack’s Ferrari at the Red Annihilation Quake tournament back in 1997 when he defeated Tom “Entropy” Kizmey. Johan “Toxic” Quick beat Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel at the WSVG 2006 Quake 4 Grand Finals to win $20,000 in cash and a Rolex watch. Two MYM Warcraft III players XiaoFeng “Sky” Li (China) and Jae ho “Moon” Jang (Korea) were given the honor to carry the Olympic torch through China en route to the Beijing National Stadium!
Over the years, the aforementioned personas and their achievements have inspired many gamers to play harder and go pro. Although Korea is the eSports capital of the world with professional gamers making a salary higher than the national average, individuals from other parts of the world have for long aspired for that life. Today, some of them are living those dreams and a lot still seem to be struggling with their dilemmas.
Let’s take a look at what’s in it for you and why there’s no better time than now to go pro. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll take StarCraft 2 as our example to help you see the big picture.
Millions of Dollars in Tournament Cash Prizes
To be a professional gamer, you need to enter and win tournaments. StarCraft 2 has crossed the $5,000,000 dollars mark in prize money and its tournament scene is filled up of thousands of micro tournaments that keep you occupied. These tournaments serve as training grounds for the budding pros that want their shot at a successful career in gaming and wish to compete for prize purses that far exceed the amounts offered in their favorite weekend cups.
In order to get an idea of the scale we’re talking about here, please visit our Tournaments, Graph, and Total sections to see the total amount each eSport, specifically Starcraft 2 has paid out so far, how many tournaments each eSport has had so far along with a list of upcoming tourneys. Our graph will tell you about each event and how much prize money was at stake at that event.
Travelling, accommodation and gaming gear for tournaments incurs a lot of cost. Once you have enough practice and good enough ladder ranking, you can set out to find a sponsor. There are popular StarCraft 2 teams currently being sponsored by major brands who can take care of all your logistical needs. Some notable examples are:
Team StarTale sponsored by Redbull, ZOWIE Gear and JOYGEAR
Team Evil Geniuses sponsored by Intel, RaidCall, SteelSeries, Monster Energy, Kingston HyperX, Beyond Gaming, Sapphire Technology, Six Pool Gaming, IN WIN, Bigfoot Networks, Intel Extreme Team, GUNNAR Optiks, SLAPPA and SPLIT REASON
Team Liquid sponsored by Razer, TwitchTV and The Little App Factory
With millions of dollars in tournament prizes, adoption of the profit sharing model within the teams and organizations allows the best players to receive a full time salary. Famous North American StarCraft 2 player Greg “IdrA” Fields made the reference of how being on a professional gaming team allows you to trade a portion of your winnings for the security of knowing you will always have a place to live and food to eat. While some of the top StarCraft 2 gamers like Jang “MC” Min Chul have won close to $350,000 till date, it is very rare. This is why profit sharing and sponsorships are required for all but the most successful pro gamers in the world. However, StarCraft 2 is not the only eSport that can help you make the big buck. Here are some of the most popular eSports that you could opt for:
DotA 2 – Still in Beta, Valve’s rendition of the Warcraft III: Frozen Throne mod’s sequel is free to play and has already been the eSport of choice for the largest eSport tournament – The International not once but twice with a $1,600,000 prize pool. Many organizers, sponsors and teams have come back from a long hiatus to get ready for this incredible eSport.
Call of Duty MW3 – COD MW3 made a lot of waves in the console pro-gaming scene on the Xbox 360 with a $1,000,000 tournament – Call of Duty XP.
League of Legends – Yet another free to play eSport, LoL can simply be downloaded for you to get started. The game has seasons hosted by the developer of the game – Riot and they started out with a bang with the first Season brandishing a prize pool of $100,000. This game has become widely popular and will continue to have more prize tournaments with the promise of sponsorships in the future. Season 2 was announced and featured a whopping $5,000,000 in prize money. This shows how fast LoL and eSports is growing – from $100,000 in 2011 to $5,000,000 in 2012!
The tournaments, sponsors and salaries are only going to increase as more games are released around the eSports model and promoted by the developers as so.
To be the best in the world, you will have to exceed expectations instead of just meeting them. Becoming a professional gamer allows you to play in the world finals across some of the toughest opponents in the game. Many eSport games now have their local preliminary tournaments leading up to the final global showdown. It is also possible to find sponsorship and have someone else pay your entrance fees and flight fees for the tournaments along with a nice salary. If you become the best, you will have free computer equipment, travel expenses covered and money to spare.
eSports have never received as much exposure as they do today. StarCraft 2 is again leading the pack in media coverage with GomTV, Thailand.tv and YouTube. As a player, you can expect to see replays of their games viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and for the largest events, even into the millions.
Also with streaming sites such as TwitchTV and OwnedTV, it has never been easier to have a fan base. Even amateur gamers can find themselves getting 100+ viewers. Professional gamers who are well known and have won tournaments can easily find thousands or tens of thousands of fans watching their streams. These live streams can also be used to generate money with ads. Streaming has become so huge that YouTube has begun working with eSports organizers to include streaming. MLG pro circuit championship 2011 was streamed live on YouTube!
The Time is Now
You cannot pick up a game and become the best gamer ever. You need to start now if you want to be ready for the upcoming tournaments. There is a huge influx in terms of tournaments with much larger prizes as more of the large companies take notice and adopt eSports as a profitable business investment. People who take the time choose the right game and have a good team to play and practice with will be the ones who can take advantage of these tournaments.
At PGT, we rank eSports based on how much money you can make playing them. For more information about the game rankings see our eSport Rankings FAQ. If you see a game ranked higher than another, it is because of the above factors. You can view the rankings here.
Also provided with the eSports rankings page are the tournament listings. We make it easy for you to see all the previous tournaments and upcoming tournaments. The growing eSports scene is updated daily with new tournaments and PGT helps you take your gaming to the next level.