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What is a professional gamer? Or how you can become a millionaire without wearing any trousers

There are a couple of ways to make money on the internet whilst only wearing pants, and being a professional gamer is one of them. 

So, what is a professional gamer?

It’s not just anybody who can make enough money to live their life and support themselves by playing games. We told ourselves we were professional gamers once, but apparently it was our parents filling up the fridge, not our two hours a day of online, ranked Animal Crossing.

There’s no single correct answer on how to become a professional gamer – there are loads ways of doing it. Some of them rely on pure gaming talent, some on humour, and some on having the imagination to come up with outrageous YouTube thumbnails and clickbait titles like ‘FIFA FORFEITS! LOSER MOVES TO ANTARCTICA 🤪’ or ‘GTA IN REAL LIFE – GONE WRONG!!!’.

Here's one ex-professional gamer’s take on how to go pro as an Esports athlete and as a streamer.

Opportunities to meet people everywhere

Or choose to become the world’s greatest FIFA 2003 player. Live your dreams!

How to become a professional Esports gamer

Aman, 29: The key to becoming a professional Esports gamer is to identify your niche as a gamer based on what you’re best at. It’s like sport IRL – if your strength is your agility, you’re more likely to win Olympic gold in gymnastics than in weightlifting. (But if your strength is literally strength then crack on with the weightlifting.)

For me, while I did play a lot of different games, playing First Person Shooters (FPS) games was always my favourite genre and then Counter-Strike became my go-to game where I excelled professionally. The key to picking a game is to try and guess the game that will have global exposure (and some Esports tournaments) in the next few years. So, don’t choose FIFA 2003 when it’s already ancient… Or choose to become the world’s greatest FIFA 2003 player. Live your dreams!

Once you’ve found your game, practice hard, understand every part of it, and start competing in local leagues to go semi-professional. If you’re hot enough at semi-pro, a bigger Esports team might pick you up. It’s a big might but dreams are always ambitious. It also helps to have a streaming channel and big numbers on your socials to become a bigger name in the Esports scene. But not everyone will want to go down the Esports route...

How to be a pro gamer on streaming platforms

Being a professional streamer is a different kind of difficult to getting Esports clout. You really need to understand what your audience wants to see (which might get weird – it’s up to you if you want to go with it). Some streamers will have a persona or even a catchphrase to make them stand out from everyone else. You’ll need to constantly interact with their audience, do shout-outs, and just find original ways to connect with whoever is watching. And even if there aren’t many people watching – just pretend like you’re streaming to millions worldwide.

You’ll also want a good streaming set-up (good camera, lighting, broadcast platform) and an idea of when to stream. Picking the right time of day to go live means more people will be able to watch you! Or you can stay up really late and become the UK’s biggest streamer for primetime in Guam. Now that’s a title. 

Besides getting big on something like Twitch, Discord, or YouTube – you’ll also want to spend your time on socials. Interact with people as much as you can on Twitter or Instagram and add some of your stream highlights onto your social page to try and grow your viewership – especially the fails, they’re always a laugh.

But most importantly, it’s best to stream games that you enjoy playing. You’ll attract more like-minded fans and your personality will shine through if you’re having fun. And if you’re having fun, so are all the people watching you!