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“To me, watching another person play video games is like going to a restaurant and having someone eat your food for you.” Jimmy Kimmel, like many others before him, didn’t believe in the concept of esports and competitive gaming viewership on his show a few days after YouTube launched its gaming subsidiary, YouTube Gaming.

Today, eSports is no longer considered a joke; the successful spin-off story from the gaming industry is truly remarkable. Today’s millennials are blessed with the opportunity to make a career playing or supporting video games, and that includes you (if you’re willing to work hard enough.) This video is conclusive proof of it.

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In part 1 of the series, we looked at esports as an upcoming trend in India. In this part, we discuss how you can potentially play a role and build a career for yourself in this dynamic subculture of gaming.

Competing at the highest level

NBA’s top League of Legends player, Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), had this to say last year; “Esports is probably the no.1 growing competitive scene out right now!”

No doubt, the best slice of the action comes from actually playing. Competitive gaming today boasts gigantic prize pools, ranging from $5,000 for local LAN tournaments at cafes, to massive $20,000,000+ at the most premium tournaments hosted by the best developers and organisers.

Being a pro-gamer is no easy feat. Today’s professional gamers are those who happened to be in the right place at the right time, the only differentiator being skill and a belief that esports will be big when no one believed in it. However, good fortune is not all that defines the chance to play at the highest level. Today, teams are always on the lookout for fresh talent. All you need to do, is make a name for yourself.

Amer ‘Miracle’ Al-Barqawi, 19, is the epitome of how you can make it big competitively. The Jordanian is now one of Dota 2’s most well known professional players, with two major championships and a plethora of other minor championships under his belt playing for various teams. All he did, was get recognised in Dota 2’s global leaderboard by rapidly rising up the ranks, literally. This is by far the best and simplest way to get in on the action – play enough to get noticed on the leaderboards. Those who make it to the top, might just get called up to play for a professional team!

That said, playing is not for the faint hearted. The fan community in esports is as ruthless as it is supportive, and the commitment required to make it professionally is one that must be taken up at a very young age (ideally), just like you would any other sport. It’s a high-risk, high-reward scenario, but that should in no way deter you from trying.

If you’re seriously considering giving it a go, you should head out to ESL India’s official portal; it’s the most organised site for aspiring esports athletes in the Indian scene, giving you a plethora of information, including organised competitions/amateur tournaments across games and platforms.

Can’t compete? Don’t fret!

Not all of us are blessed with enough skill to play competitively. Regardless of whether it’s Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, Overwatch, Starcraft 2, FIFA or any other gaming picking up steam, the community today enjoys viewing just as much as it does playing – be it competitively or just for fun, leisure and entertainment. This is a demand that needs to be fulfilled for esports to sustain–to cater to the viewing populace in video gaming.

This opens the doors for many opportunities that are less daunting, more practical and yet equally rewarding! Esports involves high level production and requires a constant flow of content to keep viewers gripped. Organisers are always on the lookout for people to join their teams to organise and create these amazing tournaments and deliver high-octane entertainment to online viewers with flawless precision. This includes video editing, writing, scripting, interviewing, paneling, managing, cosplaying, streaming and pretty much every other ‘ing’ that involves generating income!

Esports teams themselves are also on the lookout for coaches, talent managers, content curators to help the team keep pace with the gruelling schedules of their players. To top it off, developers themselves are now turning to the community to help develop new games with high esports viability. The more conventional ‘gaming’ careers like beta testing, developers and designers, creative directors, engineers and everything else under the sun hold even more value now! In fact, with platforms like YouTube Gaming and Twitch so popular these days, raking in viewerships by the millions, you could even sit at home, stream and create content around the games you love and get noticed online.

There’s no denying one fact–it’s not going to be easy. Getting into a rapidly growing yet relatively budding industry is never going to be. However, if you’re really passionate about video games, whether it’s playing, watching or simply supporting, then eSports is a train you cannot afford to miss. The movement is going places and this is but the beginning. So give it a go, and if you’re talented enough, you’re in for a whale of a time!

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