Esports, or competitive video gaming, has evolved from an obscure and overlooked industry into a booming global phenomenon. No longer reserved for basements and backrooms, professional gaming has now become a lucrative career path. Forecasted by Newzoo, the global esports market is set to amass $1.9 billion by 2023.
With numerous opportunities in this rapidly evolving sector, both gaming enthusiasts and observers have plenty at their disposal. If your penchant for gaming runs deep and you wish to chart a career path in esports, here is an exhaustive guide and tips to set you in the right direction.
1. Discover Your Niche
Initiating your journey into esports requires identifying the niche that aligns with your interests and skills. Do you excel in a specific game? Are you passionate about content creation, event management, or team organization? Perhaps you prefer behind-the-scenes roles, such as analysts, coaches, or managers. Just as the conventional sports industry features a wide array of jobs, the esports industry also follows suit. Familiarizing yourself with the roles and understanding your own standing in the industry will help in carving your pathway.
2. Hone Your Skills
Once you’ve identified your niche, the next step is to cultivate and refine your skills. Whether geared towards becoming a player or assuming a non-player role, proficiency is essential. This encompasses honed gaming techniques, game mechanics, strategies, and resilience in high-pressure situations. If your inclination leans towards non-playing roles, develop skills such as leadership, teamwork, analysis, marketing, and networking. Online courses, local workshops, and community forums can aid in enhancing your skills.
3. Build a Portfolio
Marketable skills alone will not open doors in the esports industry. Employers and potential partners seek tangible evidence of your skills and achievements. By designing a strong portfolio, you not only demonstrate your dedication but also present a substantial record of your work. This may include participation records in tournaments, content you’ve created, your involvement in gaming projects, or gathered testimonials proving your expertise.
4. Network and Apply
Entering the esports industry also involves building connections and applying for opportunities actively. Networking with players, coaches, managers, organizers, and influencers broadens your knowledge and connections in the industry. Engage in online gaming communities, attend tournaments, and become a part of esports discussions. Once you’ve established a decent networking ground, utilize your portfolio to apply for job openings, contracts, and partnerships. The esports industry, akin to others, thrives on the strength of contacts and professional relationships.
5. Stay Updated
Remaining current about the developments in esports can prove essential for your career longevity and growth. This industry is known for its dynamism and rapidly changing trends; hence, continuously learning new skills, embracing novel techniques, and staying updated with the latest developments is vital.
6. Enjoy the Journey
The world of esports is a blend of challenges and triumphs and it’s essential that you enjoy the journey. Balance your passion for gaming with professional growth, be patient with your progress, learn from your failures, and celebrate your successes. Understanding that this is a demanding yet rewarding profession helps provide motivation through the challenges you’re likely to encounter.
7. Adopt a Professional Attitude
A career in esports, much like traditional sports, asks for a professional attitude. This means respecting the rules of the games and the ethical guidelines that govern professional gaming. It includes treating teammates, competitors, spectators, and other industry professionals with respect. A professional attitude also entails being responsible with time management, meeting commitments, and maintaining good physical and mental health.
8. Gain Competitive Experience
Attempt to gain as much competitive experience as possible. Participate in both online and offline tournaments to learn about different competitive landscapes. This could range from community-based tournaments to larger, more conventional esports events.
9. Seek Mentoring
Find a mentor experienced in your chosen esports specialization. This mentor can navigate you through the professional landscape, provide you with valuable insights for informed decision-making, and offer constructive criticism to enhance your skills.
10. Learn to Handle Stress
The world of esports, especially at competitive tiers, can be rife with stress. It’s therefore crucial to learn effective stress management techniques to ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your competitive performance or personal life. This might involve learning stress management techniques, and exercises, or seeking professional help if needed.
11. Create a Personal Brand
Establishing a personal brand can be crucial in the esports industry. Your personal brand distinguishes you from other players or professionals and aids in gaining recognition in the community. This could be achieved through consistent performance, a unique playing style, a strong online presence, or even a distinctive personality.
12. Expand Your Horizons
Finally, do not limit yourself to only one aspect of esports. Understand the industry from different perspectives – be it organizational, managerial, business, or technical. Comprehensive industry knowledge enhances job stability and opens doors to a wider range of career options.
Embarking on a career in esports is an exciting journey filled with potential. As the global esports market continues to grow it opens up an array of paths for passionate individuals, whether it be as a player or a professional in a non-playing role. Identifying your niche, refining your skills, networking diligently, and constantly updating your industry knowledge are just some of the steps to make your mark in this robust industry.
Remember, in esports, just as in any other profession, nurturing a professional attitude, embracing challenges, enjoying every step, and maintaining resilience is integral to your success. So ignite your passion, gear up your game, and venture into the thrilling world of esports.