Not a single millisecond goes by without somebody somewhere wishing that they knew how to become a professional gamer. Who wouldn't want to be a professional gamer? Playing video games and getting paid great money to do it, getting to reap the benefits of sponsorships and probably even groupies (maybe), and living the exact same lifestyle most of us live now, but being able to afford our rent on it, sounds like a pretty sweet gig. What does it actually take though? Becoming a professional gamer is much more difficult than you think.
- Pick a game. The average professional gamer is not a jack of all trades. She has found a few games, or even just one, that she is masterful at and has taken that game to a professional level. Think of the games you are best at and check to see if there are any professional leagues and tournaments around those games. Odds are that if you are good at Modern Warfare you have a shot, but there probably aren't many sponsors looking to throw money at a Duke Nukem savant currently.
- Practice, practice, practice, and then practice. This is the most important part. The reason most pro gamers aren't all over the gamut is that, to maintain a high level of ability, they have to eat, sleep and breathe their selected games. Some pro gamers and tournament champions can play a game like Halo 3 for an amount of time that rivals or exceeds even the most dedicated full-time workers.
- Start small. You probably won't be raking in the huge MLG money right away, so find local tournaments to compete in. Everybody has to start somewhere. This also helps to really judge your ability. After you have a few strong showings in local tournaments, you are ready to move on and try to gain entrance to larger tournaments at conventions, or even to compete in the preliminaries of the "major leagues."
- Be interesting. This is one thing that might be overlooked. It isn't just about talent, necessarily. In our heavily-connected world, the internet is a fantastic tool to get your name out there. Make videos of your best gaming feats, start Facebook groups and MySpace accounts declaring your desire to become a pro gamer, and just generally make sure you are easily approachable and recognizable as a gamer. This will make you more appealing to any professional gaming league if you are one of the lucky few who get to that pinnacle of geekiness.