Forty thousand people gathered in Seoul to witness an epic final showdown between two teams – South Korea’s Samsung White and China’s Starhorn Royal Club. Eyes glued to the game, the crowd cheered, yelled and lamented after every play. In the end, Samsung White emerged the victor and claimed the million-dollar prize, winning three games to one. But this was no ordinary sports competition—rather, this was the League of Legends 2014 World Championship.
Through such tournaments and almost-universal access to the Internet, becoming popular as a professional gamer is now easier than ever. With social media such as Facebook and Twitter, gamers can promote themselves and invite individuals to support and watch their gameplay.
When compared to a normal job, a professional gaming career’s time and work commitments rival that of a corporate lifestyle. Communication skills, as well as hand-eye coordination, are crucial during a professional match, and a typical gaming career often runs up to eight hours a day.
With complex video editing software such as Final Cut, professional gamers edit and upload their gameplay to garner views from fans and secure advertisement funds and sponsorships from major corporations; indeed, a career based off of playing video games is much more than merely enjoying playing games, often demanding management and monetary abilities, as well as public speaking prowess.
“Gaming is an industry that is only going to keep on expanding as technology develops and becomes more advanced. Gaming should be considered a job,” Junior Isabel Llacer said.
However, with professional gaming’s rising popularity, many have begun to question its purpose and practicality.
Video gaming is taken extremely seriously in South Korea, where there are live-in training centers and professional gamers can earn as much as $300,000 per year in prize money and advertisements.
According to a CNN report from John D. Sutter, this gaming culture results in severe consequences: 8% of Koreans from age nine to 39 suffer from either Internet or gaming addiction. Many believe that considering gaming as a career will worsen the issue.
However, a person with a passion for gaming should be allowed to pursue his or her goals without judgment. The line between the drive for success and an unhealthy addiction must be clearly defined; though, there is always the possible and unfortunate chance that some pro-gamers may become addicted but just as with any other job, hard work and deep devotion should not be mistaken with the seriousness of addiction.
Indeed, there is no shortage of stereotypes for professional gamers. But making a living in the realm of online multiplayer video games, attracting sponsors and winning tournaments requires a combination of skill, dedication and practice – all while doing a job one enjoys.