Planning to be a pro eSports athlete?

It sounds like every boy’s (or girl) dream come true – getting paid to play video games in the comfort of the living room. In this competitive online gaming platform, the 5 highest paying game titles are Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II and Counter Strike.

How does a professional gamer train? By playing games, a lot. Professional Halo gaming team Evil Geniuses trains for 12 hours a day and building up to the championship,  “seven days a week for over a month”. Professional League of Legends team, Team Liquid, practice a minimum of 50 hours a week, and most members spend way more hours beyond that. Korean teammates in Team Liquid practice for 12-14 hours per day and sleep 4 hours daily. When in season, the team only gets Mondays off, well, some Mondays.

eSports athletes earn money through several ways:

  1. Live streaming – Pro gamers use streaming softwares (eg. Twitch) to stream their live matches, this can be done either individually or with a team. Once a substantial follower base is established, the gamer applies for a partnership with the streaming service, in turn earning money off the site’s advertising revenue. On top of this, there are other additional monetising models such as subscriptions and donations.
  2. Sponsorships and endorsements – This is largely carried out with companies that produce video game accessories (eg. mouse, mics, headphones) who provide players with funding in return for endorsements and use of their products.
  3. Tournaments – The most lucrative of them all, the largest prize pool was worth over USD $20 million in The International 2016, an annual Dota 2 championship, where the winning team was awarded a little over USD $9 million dollars, or USD $1.8 million per “athlete”.

eSports in Singapore

In recent years, the eSports scene has been picking up momentum in the country as more organisations are hosting competitions.

Held annually since 2014 and in 2016 thereafter, biannually, the Singapore Campus League (SGCL) is a national League of Legends (LoL) tournament. The winning teams from both divisions this year took home $2,000 each.

Another popular game that has been taking off is Overwatch. In 2016, champions of the game in the STGCC eSports Mountain Dew Cup won $1,500 + merchandise and the winning team of Overwatch Champions Singapore PC Tournament took home $2,000 + merchandise. In 2017, the winners of Overwatch Singapore Tournament were awarded $3,000.

According to e-Sports Earnings, the Singaporean player with the highest earnings goes to player ID iceiceice with a collective winning of $1.13 million, followed by player ID NutZ at $224,514.

The Next Big Thing

Globally, eSports revenue is targeted to hit $1.2 billion by 2020 as esports enthusiasts and its audience worldwide become more involved in the scene.

In view of the industry’s rapid growth, the World Esports Association was formed in 2016 and just this year in Singapore, the country’s first ever Esports Academy was launched. The academy offers free classes open to the public where they can sign up through Singapore Cybersports & Online Association’s website (SCOGA). It was also reported by The Olympic Council of Asia that esports will be included as a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games.

What a time to be alive for wannabe gamers.

by Violet Koh