Why there aren’t enough professional gamers out there.
Save for countries like China and Korea, it’s hard to say that professional gaming is an accepted sport, where the gamers live together and follow strict training schedules.
In most countries and societies, gaming is seen as entertainment; a past time, something to be done in one’s spare time, and not as a real job.
Why the gamers are scared
There has been more than one case of gamers being promised something, and organisations/sponsors falling short. Almost every single gamer out there will have a horror story to tell of funds not being paid out, not being reimbursed, managers running off with the sponsored items and cash…
Being a gamer doesn’t put you above the daily needs of a normal person – there are bills to be paid, expenses, and the occassional movie for when a gamer decides to come out of his shell – and spending time NOT holding a proper job is bad enough already (in the eyes of society, family… etc) but to not get duly paid WHILE putting in all that effort is just one big turn off.
Pressure from family and friends will eventually mean that the gamer has to go back to society to find a “proper job”, where he’ll be competing with others who probably already have a couple years of work experience.
Apart from that, you can almost hear the sound of their dreams of going pro crashing around them…
We’re not here to gloat or to point fingers but simply to draw attention to the people who always suffer in these matters – the players. The young professionals who have high hopes of making a living from their passion. When they are let down the ramifications for the whole of e-sports are dire. The owners generally walk away unscathed, the sponsors too. The players are left not only wondering when they will receive what they are due but whether or not they can continue competing at all, whether it would be a better option to stop and take that office job where contracts actually mean something and your pay arrives in your bank account at a precise minute.
“From This Mortal Coil” http://www.cadred.org/News/Article/191506/
(this is the article which sparked off my entire post btw…)
Why the sponsors are scared
Teams are volatile things. Oftentimes, it just takes one semi major argument to blow everything to bits, and organisations are left without a squad. Replacing them is theoretically an easy thing – many aspiring gamers, funds on hand – but in reality, putting a team of 5 together is a very delicate procedure. Keeping the 5 together for more than 6 months is practically an act of God.
So, when your “talent” doesn’t stay together, and they don’t rather put their own interests and decisions above the collective, as most gamers do, teams fall apart.
How this is relevant to me.
I’ve taken the path less trodden. despite my education I chose to stray from a mainstream career and have immersed myself in the gaming industry and community for the past decade or so. I have to admit that I get lots of comforting comments like :
(from a career woman my age) well, i’m pretty sure that most of us on this side of the fence would much rather be on your side of the fence where you’re doing what you enjoy for a living.
(from a male ex-schoolmate)wow… you’re living my childhood dream man…
But at the same time, it’s hard. The money isn’t as good as it is out there, and most of the time it’s a thankless job. People are more ready to point fingers and criticise than they are to compliment and help make things better.
A short while ago, I was contemplating giving in to the pressures of growing up and applying for a mainstream job in a large corporate company.
Then, I got offers to remain in the eSports scene, and more offers… and more offers.
At this point in time though, they are just that. Offers. Nothing concrete, but the potential and frequency makes me believe that I can continue doing this, for a while more. And I want to make things better.
Having the experience of both ends of the spectrum – the gamer and the sponsor/organiser/manager – makes it clearer for me to do things.
There’s room for improvement and learning, definitely, but what I have so far, helps me.
And I believe, that it is people like me, who are gamers moving into careers into the gaming industry, who will spearhead the changes to make professional gaming a reality for talented gamers out there.
I hope I live to see the day.