Video games continue to increase in popularity. In fact, they have become so popular that individuals have been able to make really good money playing video games. But is playing video games a good career?
Is Gaming a Good Career?
Although gaming can be very lucrative, it is extremely difficult to break into and to make a career out of. If you are able to get good enough at a video game then you may be able to compete in competitions and make money; however, depending on the game you play, winning such competitions may still not be enough to live off of.
This is the tricky thing about gaming. You may be really good at a certain game, and the game you play may even have major competitions that you can compete in, but the payouts for winning these competitions may still not be enough for you to make a living off of.
For example, a game that I really like is the football game Madden. Madden has major competitions across the United States and has prize money for those who compete and do well.
But take a look below at the payouts for the top placers in the 2020 Madden Bowl:
3rd – 4th: $20,000
5th – 8th: $10,000
If you get 1st place you get $65,000 which is great. But anything less than 1st and you and your family will be struggling to eat that year. And this isn’t even including the money that will be taking out because of taxes which will make your earnings even less.
Now if you are fortunate enough to break through, and be the best at a certain game then it could work, but this is a major gamble and may not work out for you.
For this reason, many professional gamers also do things such as live streaming or Youtube in order to have different revenue streams. If you want to know if streaming is a good career, check out my article here.
But even with streaming and Youtube you may still need to get a day job in order to make ends meet.
Can Gaming Become a Career?
Many pro gamers start off gaming as a hobby, but then turn it into a professional career if the money is right. Some games pay enough at the top competitions for people to turn gaming into a career, but this is not common. So if the money is right, and your game is popular, then yes gaming can become a career.
Remember though, of the hundreds of games out there, there are only a handful that pay enough for you to live off of. For this reason, many gamers will start gaming as a hobby and then let it transform into something more of a career if it makes sense to do so.
But that is not to say that gamers can’t make good money.
Do Pro Gamers Make Good Money?
Pro Gamers can make good money, but this will largely depend on the game they play and how well they place in the competitions they compete in. For example, in the 2019 Fortnite World Cup, 1st place took home $3,000,000, but places 21 – 100 only took home $50,000.
As you can see, there is a huge difference between $3,000,000 and $50,000. Now even taking home $50,000 is great, but there is so much time and effort that goes into getting good at a game that you have to consider if that amount is even worth it. Also, that is 50k before taxes are taken out.
And going back to our earlier game Madden, unless you are one of the top placers, you will only make slightly more than minimum wage.
Now what many pro gamers, or even amateur gamers do in order to supplement their income is compete in smaller tournaments or wager matches. So maybe they didn’t take home a lot of money in one of the main events, but they made some money wagering to make up for it.
However, there are downsides to each of these options. For one, the smaller tournaments pay far less than the main events do. So even if you win one of these smaller tournaments you may still struggle to pay your bills.
Next, when it comes to wager matches, you are taking a risk each time you compete. Each game works differently, but basically you and another person wager a certain amount of money and winner takes the pot.
If you win it’s great, but if you lose then you will be losing money and can find yourself in a hole really quick. Some of these gaming wager sites also have restrictions for pro gamers and so it may be harder for you to compete than you may think.
With all this being said, gaming is a growing industry and you can absolutely make good money gaming. But just keep in mind that it is harder to make good money than you may think and not every game will be able to support you financially.
Is Being a Pro Gamer Worth It?
Being a pro gamer is similar to being a pro athlete. You can make a ton of money, and you get to earn a living doing what you love, but it is extremely competitive and hard to break into; however, if you can make it, then it is definitely worth it because you will be doing something you love.
But keep in mind, unlike like streaming, or even practicing a sport for that matter, you are not learning a ton of skills by just gaming. The only skills you are really learning is how to get good at a game and that usually doesn’t transfer into other fields.
For example, let’s say that you practiced really hard to play basketball at a competitive level. Even if you don’t make it to the NBA, there are still tons of amateur leagues that you can compete in and make a decent living with. You could also get scholarships to attend college and obtain a degree.
Next, you can use the training and skills you learned to do things like coaching, private basketball lessons or even personal training. Not to mention the fact that you will more than likely rub shoulders with some pretty important people along the way that you can network with.
On the other hand, if you just play one game all the time, what skills will you be learning that can transfer to other areas of your life? As I am sure you have seen, some streamers/gamers are dominant at one game and then that game burns out and the new game they stream/play they are only average or above average at best. It happens all the time.
So if you build your career on one game, and that game fades away, now what? Many pro gamers end up struggling to make a living once their game loses popularity because they spent all their time gaming and never developed any skills beyond gaming.
For this reason, if you are set on making gaming your career, then I recommend doing things like live streaming and Youtube as well. This way if your gaming career dies down you can still use the skills you learned as a video editor/entertainer to be successful in life.
Not to mention you will hopefully have built up a community that supports you during your time competing at video games.
If you want to compete at gaming, make sure you are simultaneously trying to improve your skills in other areas just in case gaming doesn’t work. If you want to know how to get started streaming on Twitch, check out my article here.
As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!
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In the end, gaming is super competitive to get into, but it can be a great career if you are fortunate enough to break through. Just make sure you develop other skills that can be used in other areas besides just gaming.