How To Become a Pro Video Gamer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 14, 2022 | Published March 15, 2021

Updated February 14, 2022

Published March 15, 2021

If you enjoy playing video games, you might want to consider becoming a pro video gamer in the realm of e-sports. The growing popularity and profitability of professional video game competitions attracts players from around the world. Whether you’re looking to get into solo or team competitions, being a pro video gamer requires practice, patience, agility and determination to succeed. In this article, we describe what a pro gamer is, what they do and the steps necessary to become one.

What is a pro video gamer?

A pro video gamer is someone who plays video games professionally in competitions, which can be a very lucrative profession for many. Professional video game competitions, usually called esports, can have prizes worth millions of dollars. It can take a lot of practice to join the elite players who earn that much money, but because it's a newer industry, it is possible to break in with the right combination of practice, talent, teammates and game choice. Pro video gamers are a new type of professional athlete, but it is a viable and growing career.

There is another type of pro video gamer, called a streamer, who rather than being active in competitions, streams their playing online for people to watch. These gamers might compete in esports competitions, or they might stream only. Streamers tend to make their money through subscribers, ad revenue, affiliate links and other methods rather than winning competitive prizes. One advantage to being a streamer is that if you provide entertainment, you can get subscribers and earn money, and you don't have to be the best gamer to do so.

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What do pro video gamers do?

Pro video gamers primarily make their money through big competitions, which are held all over the world. When pro video gamers aren't competing, however, they are usually training or preparing in some way. This might include practicing their gaming skills, taking care of their body to allow for marathon gaming sessions or discussing strategy with their teammates. Pro video gamers are likely interested in video games in general, so they may play other games as a way of honing their skills, but primarily they will practice the specific game they plan to compete in.

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How to become a pro video gamer

If you're interested in becoming a pro video gamer, you generally don't need a formal education. To be a streamer, you really just need to set up a stream online and build an audience, and you can play different games whenever you want. For competitive pro gamers, however, the process is a little different. The best way to game professionally is to prepare your skills on your own and with a team. Here are the steps to becoming a competitive pro video gamer:

1. Choose your game

There are a lot of video games out there, including those that are used for gaming competitions. While it is possible to compete in multiple games, most pro video gamers focus on one game for their competitions. One of the biggest reasons for this is that to become expert enough to compete at a high level, you need to practice a lot. If you're splitting your time between multiple games, you're less likely to become an expert in any of them.

Another factor in choosing your game is to decide if you want a classic, reliable game that has been used in competitions for a while, or if you want to focus on an up-and-coming game with less history. There are benefits and challenges to each. An established game is more likely to have competition opportunities going forward, but the competition might be more difficult as more people are familiar with it. A newer game might have less competition, but there's the chance it won't be successful as an esports game and you'll have to learn a new game to compete.

2. Get active in the community

The gaming community is a big part of being a professional gamer. Many gaming competitions are team events, so you'll eventually need to find a team. Beyond that, however, it's important that you understand the culture and community you're entering. If you don't enjoy the other people in that community, you may not enjoy working towards being a professional gamer with that game. Additionally, being an active participant in the community around the game you've chosen can help you increase your skills, make important connections and understand competitions.

3. Find the right equipment

Modern gaming equipment is extremely customizable. If you play on a console, there are different types of controllers and set-ups you can use. If you play on a computer, not only can you customize the computer itself, there are many peripherals you can customize such as keyboards, mice and monitors. Each gamer's ideal setup is different and based on personal preference, so it might take some time for you to find exactly the right equipment you need to game at your best.

The best way to find what equipment you need is to talk to your gaming community, do your research and try some equipment out. Maximizing your gaming equipment can help you improve your gaming skills.

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4. Practice, practice, practice

The most important part of preparing to become a professional video gamer is to practice the game you want to compete in. Every video game that is played competitively has aspects of it that you need to learn just to play, but to excel, you need to know a variety of techniques and skills. You may also find that the game you're playing has various strategies that can be used to win through your research and community discussions, and those strategies need to be practiced.

You might also find value in watching expert players to see how they handle different in-game situations, as well as watching videos of yourself playing to understand how you could improve. Like any other sport, practice and studying your playing can help you improve a great deal over time.

5. Understand how to compete

Each esports game has its own format for how new players can become professional video gamers. There are usually different levels in terms of how people compete, ranging from completely casual all the way up to the huge arena competitions for a lot of money. In order to plan how you want to proceed, you probably want to research how competitions work for your game of choice. Once you understand how to compete, you can make plans for where you want to start.

6. Start small and build your experience

Just like in any other career, you are unlikely to start at the top, so it's best to plan to start with smaller competitions and events to build your experience. The more you grow as a player and the more familiar you become with the esports industry, the more you can excel in competitions with a higher profile. Additionally, if you don't have a team yet, establishing yourself at smaller events can allow you to show a potential team what you have to offer.

7. Join or create a team

For many competitive games, you need to play with a team of other players. This isn't always the case, but if your game is one of these games, you'll want to join or create a team to compete with. If you don't have anyone you want to create a team with, you can often find teams to join or other players looking for a team through your online community. This is a big reason why it's good to become involved in the gaming community for the game you're specializing in.

One of the most important things in working within a gaming team is to be sure that you all support one another in the game. This might mean that you have compatible strengths and weaknesses, or that you're good at communicating. The best gaming teams are those that work well together, so prioritize gaming with those who are a good fit with your skills and gameplay style.

8. Compete

Once you have your team set up and you've played in some smaller competitions, you likely will want to get into more serious gaming events. It might take time for you and your team to be good enough to join these types of events, but with each competition you join regardless of size, you should be able to learn more about how to improve and compete. Keep in mind that watching video of you and your team at a competition can help you learn ways to get better. If you win, that can help you get into larger competitions.

9. Take care of yourself

Gaming is a sedentary activity, but it's one that can wear on your body in unique ways. Taking care of yourself can make you a better gamer. This includes taking care of your physical health by stretching, exercising and trying to prevent repetitive strain injuries. It also includes taking care of your mental health through any number of activities ranging from therapy to social interactions. An added bonus of having a healthy social life is that it can make you a better communicator, which can benefit your gaming team.

10. Keep honing your skills

Whether you are just getting started as a professional gamer or you're a successful professional who's won multiple competitions, it's important to keep honing your skills throughout your career. You may find that you learn new strategies or ways to play over time that help you be more competitive. Or you might find that the game you've been focusing on isn't as high profile as it used to be and decide to learn a new game. Continuously growing your skills can make you a more effective professional.

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