If sports only make you think about people performing physical activities while competing against each other, you should think again. The definition of sports has expanded and due to the development of video game culture has also begun to include the so-called “electronic sports” or “eSports”. eSports are competitions facilitated by electronic systems; most times they are video games and they are mediated by human-computer interfaces. The most common types of game that qualify such as eSports are fighting, real-time strategy, first-person shooter and multiplayer online battle arena. Competitors earn money from salaries and competition prizes. If your favorite video game is on the list beneath, you too can consider becoming a professional gamer and making money out of your favorite activity:
1. Street Fighter
Let’s start with a fighting game – Street Fighter is one of the best-known and long lasting professional video games. The first game in the series was launched in 1987 and the title developed by Capcom with Japanese creators continues to be successful after several more sequels being launched over the years. More than 50 Street Fighter tournaments have been organized so far, with prizes exceeding $1,000,000. Team Liquid is the most successful in Street Fighter competitions, with earnings of $260,677.37 from 11 tournaments.
2. Counter Strike
Counter Strike is one of the best-known multiplayer first-person shooter video games – who hasn’t played CS with their friends when they were kids? The first version of Counter Strike was launched in 1999 on Windows. Three more titles have been launched subsequently: Counter Strike: Condition Zero, Counter Strike: Source, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. In 2016, the top 10 Counter Strike: Global Offensive teams won a total of $7.7 million. The game grew massively in 2016 and those who play it professionally enjoy nice earnings, not only from prize money, but also from sponsorship deals and revenue shares.
3. StarCraft: Brood War
StarCraft: Brood War is a real time strategy computer game which is played professionally mostly in South Korea. There are even two different game channels there, MBCGame and Ongamenet, both running a Star League and attracting millions of fans. More than $4,000,000 prize money has been awarded since StarCraft: Brood War became an eSport, and large Korean companies like Samsung and SK Telecom are sponsoring gamers. Some of the most successful professional StarCraft players are Lim Yo-Hwan (SlayerS_`BoxeR`), Lee Yun-Yeol ([ReD]NaDa), Hong Jin-ho (YellOw), Ma Jae-Yoon (sAviOr[gm]), Park Jung Suk ([Oops]Reach), and Kang Min (Nal_rA).
4. FIFA Football
A football simulation video game, FIFA has first been launched in late 1993 and it had from the beginning an official license from FIFA, the governing body of football. The game is available on the most popular platforms, from PlayStation to Zeebo, and new versions are being released every year. Those who like both real and virtual football are accustomed with the FIFA Interactive World Cup, a video gaming competition taking place every year and being recognized as the largest online gaming tournament by Guinness World Records. The inaugural competition took place in 2004 in Switzerland and in 2013 more than 2.5 million players signed up.
Dota stands for “Defense of the Ancients” and is based on the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. A multiplayer online battle arena mod for the Warcraft video game, Dota requires players to destroy their opponents’ Ancient, a structure located at the other corner of the map. 10 years after the original game was launched, the sequel Dota 2 was released in 2013 by Valve Corporation. The game is played between two teams of five players, who are required to occupy a base on the map and fight through the opposing team’s defenses. The professional competitions of Dota 2 are some of the best known and the prizes are very high. For instance, The International 2015 competition had a prize pool of more than $18.4 million. The champion team, Evil Geniuses, earned over $6 million. Dota 2 is the highest earning eSport of all time, as teams and players have earned approximately $65 million by June 2016.
6. Heroes of Newerth
A title in the same category as the previous one, Heroes of Newerth is also a multiplayer online battle arena video game derived from Warcraft III: the Frozen Throne. The first version was released in 2010; the game became free-to-play in July 2011. There are two teams in this game – the Legion and the Hellbourne, sitting at opposite corners of the map and having the objective of destroying the central structure of the other team. Heroes of Newerth is a good choice if you want to become a professional gamer, since its prize money awarded in 366 tournaments is up to $2,791,636.
Have you ever played any of these games? If you are good at it, you could consider playing it at a professional level and make a good living out of it.