Is Esports a Good Career Option? Opportunities and Challenges


Esports has become mainstream. Now we see stadium-based esports events, events streaming, big sponsors, and coverage by mainstream media. Most people who have an interest in gaming also think about becoming a pro player and making a career in Esports. Gamers follow gaming stars who have earned names and fame as esports players. These stars also encourage other gamers to think about choosing esports as a career option. But there’s a big question most people ask. Is esport really a good career choice? In this detailed article, I will talk about esports, esports history, and esports as a career.

First, let’s understand what isesports.

What isesports?

Esport is a video game competition where different teams face off in the same game to win the competition. In simple words, Esports is the short form of electronic sports that includes competitive level gaming. Any multiplayer game can become anesports. It all depends on how interesting the game is.

Millions of people play competitive video games and watchesports tournaments. The viewership is so high that esports is now mainstream. Before the pandemic, there were also many stadium-based gaming tournaments. In 2021, more than 474 million people watchedesports worldwide. That’s the strong viewership esports is getting.

If I just talk about the first half of 2021, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was the leadingesports game. As per the data available on Statista for the first half of 2021, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive had a cumulative tournament prize pool of $7.98 million. PUBG and Fortnite had $7.8 and $6.12 million respectively. Now you can assume how big esports events have become.

Intel has been supporting esports a lot for years. The company has even to getesports officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Some notable universities including Staffordshire University, the University of York, and the University of Leicester. have also startedesports-related courses and degrees.

Esports Vs Gaming

Several people thinkesports is all about playing games. But this is not true. Gaming is a casual activity that people do primarily for entertainment. On the other hand, Esports is done at a professional level and it requires a certain set of skills and training. When you are anesports player, you also face a lot of mental pressure of performing well on a global stage. You can be an excellent gamer, but you also need the right mindset to be a goodesports player.

History ofesports

Video games have been around for years. In the Initial days, gamers used to compete against a CPU enemy and beat it to win the game. After the gaming industry got multiplayer games, competing and winning against human players made gaming even more exciting. As per the records available, the first known video game competition took place at Stanford University back in 1972 for the game Space War. In 1974, Sega held Japan TV Game Championships, a nationwide arcade video game tournament. The event was held at 300 different locations and saw a good response from Japanese gamers. In a few years, such gaming events became common where gamers participated to compete against other gamers and win the game. After the year 2000, gaming events saw growth in popularity and participation.

After 2010, esports grew tremendously. Prize money of esports events was going up and it was also attracting viewership. As per data available, esports tournaments gave away a total of $5,499,872 in 2010. In just 5 years, this number crossed $50 million. Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PUBG, and Fortnite are some of the popular PC games with good prize money at esports events. In recent years, mobile games also joined esports. PUBG Mobile, Arena of Valor, and Free Fire are some of the popular mobile games at esports.

How much do esports players make?

Not many people know that esports players earn millions. Johan Sundstein (N0tail) is a Danish esports player and has earned more than 7 million by winning DOTA 2 competitions. There are hundreds of esports players who earned millions by participating in different esports events.

Here’s a list of the top 10 most earning esports players. See how Dota 2 is paying gamers. All top 10 top earning players are playing Dota 2.

Player IDPlayer NameTotal (Overall)Highest Paying Game
1. N0tailJohan Sundstein$7,183,917.80Dota 2
2. JerAxJesse Vainikka$6,470,548.78Dota 2
3. anaAnathan Pham$6,004,411.96Dota 2
4. CebSébastien Debs$5,773,812.41Dota 2
5. TopsonTopias Taavitsainen$5,690,417.57Dota 2
6. KuroKyKuro Takhasomi$5,215,504.15Dota 2
7. Miracle-Amer Al-Barkawi$4,818,441.68Dota 2
8. MinD_ContRoLIvan Ivanov$4,599,516.16Dota 2
9. MatumbamanLasse Urpalainen$4,507,889.04Dota 2
10. GHMaroun Merhej$4,213,810.69Dota 2
This table is based on information published on the internet: Source:

Best-paid esports players earn around $40000 a month. There are several factors that contribute to earning. It depends on the tournament’s prize pool you play. Some games offer high prize money while some esports tournaments don’t have good prize money. Earning of an esports player also depends on what game he/she plays. DOTA 2 seems to be the best-paying esports game.

Have a look at the list showing different waysesports players make money.

  • Cash prizes
  • Team salaries
  • Sponsorship money
  • Digital streaming
  • Media rights
  • Merchandising and tickets

If you play well, there is no limit on how much you can earn.

Esports in India

Gamers have been participating inesports events and earning for years. But Indian gamers didn’t have many opportunities. India’s ecosystem and infrastructure have nothing to support gamers and their livelihood. When I was in college, I also participated in Counter-Strike and Need For Speed esports events. Esports event is still an important part of several colleges’ annual technical events. Winning cash prizes at such esports events had a different feeling, but thinking about making it a career wasn’t possible. We just know that winning an escort event could get us some cash prizes. Neither there were too many gaming events, nor the prize money in Indian gaming events was too good.

Most goodesports tournaments are played in South Asia or in Europe. But the scene is completely different now. Now Indian players are also winning in different local and global esports events. PUBG Mobile has players like Clutchgod, Owais, and Mortal who have earned fame. After the rollout of 4G across the country, mobile gaming became quite popular in India. So, several organizations started PUBG: Mobile esports events.

At global stages, PC games ruleesports events but gamers play mobile games at an Indianesports event. At PUBG Mobile India Series 2020, the prize money ws Rs. 50 Lakh. Most earningesports in India also belong to PUBG Mobile. Here’s is a list of the top most earningesports players in India.

Player IDPlayer NameGames
1ClutchGodVivek AabhasPUBG Mobile, BGMI
2OwaisMohammad Owais LakhaniPUBG Mobile, BGMI
3NeyooSuraj Nityanand MajumdarPUBG Mobile, BGMI
4JonathanJonathan AmaralPUBG Mobile, BGMI
5RonakHarpreet Singh JanjuhaPUBG Mobile, BGMI

Surprising thing is that all popular Indian esports players play games on smartphone. Costly PC gaming gear could be a reason why mobile gaming has a mass adoption in India. You can get a high-end gaming phone at a price of a good monitor.

Now when fast Internet is available in most parts of the country, India’s gaming industry is also rapidly growing. Gamers have several ways of earning. So, several people having an interest in gaming think about making a career in esports.

How to make a career inesports?

Esports is not just for gamers. This is a big industry that requires several people in different roles. Some notable roles are:

  • Professional gamer or esports athelete
  • broadcaster
  • Player coach
  • Analyst
  • Esports journalist
  • PR or Marketing executive
  • Product manager
  • Sales/partnerships manager
  • Admin/referee
  • Organisation owner
  • Event manager

When most people think about making a career inesports, they usually think about being an esports athlete or professional player. So, I will only talk about how to be a professional esports athlete.

Before you think about making a career inesports as an athlete, you need to first pick a game and be a pro player of the game. Until you are not good enough to compete against other top players or teams, you have no chance inesports. You can either pick a solo game or a team game. You can also pick a new game and master it. For example, Valorant was launched last year and it has already become a popular esports game. People who adopted it earlier got an edge over other players.

After picking a game, master it and start participating in competitive ranked matches. It will help you understand where you stand. When you think you are good enough in the game, start taking part in small gaming tournaments in your country. If you are trying your luck in a team game, make sure you already have a team to take part in small esports events. Winning small gaming events will boost your confidence and that also adds to your achievements as a gamer.

Several esports companies keep an eye on small gaming tournaments. If you perform well in several gaming events, one of those esports companies will surely contact you and will sign you as their esports player. Esports companies provide a stable income and proper guidance to further boost your gaming skills. Once you are signed, you just need to focus on your game. Your organization will take care of entry fees at major esports events and expenses of your travel. These organizations basically earn by winningesports major events, jerseys sponsors, and by selling jerseys.

Mostesports players started by playing game casually. It was their dedication and hardware work that they got attention ofesports organisations. So, don’t directly aim at taking part in different gaming tournament. First focus on shaprening your gaming skills.

Asus recently started ROG Academy in India where they are trying find and train next generationesports players in India. This can be a good option to get early exposure.

Isesports a good career option?

Obviously it is. But you need to stop overvaluing yourself and keep a focus on learning. I have seen a lot of people who think they are really good gamer but they don’t forget that we have more than 3.2 Billion gamers world wide playing different games and many gamers are much better than you are. If I just talk about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, more than 2 million gamers actively play the game. For making a good career as anesports player of Counter-Strike Global Offensive, you need to be at least in top 250 gamers playing this game. There’s always a scope of an improvement.

You already know that you can earn a lot as anesports player. But it is as competitive as any other sports. A few in thousands can make their way to the top. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Even if you fail to impress anesports organization, there are several other ways to earn as a gamer. Your gaming skill won’t let you down.

Other ways gamers can make money

Even after making a lot of efforts, if you fail to make a career asesports player, you gave several other options to earn as a gamer. Twitch was launched back in 2011 as a video live streaming service. It helped gamers a lot. Several gamers started live-streaming their gameplay. In the coming years, other players including Facebook and YouTube also jumped into live game streaming and it also became a good way of earning for gamers. I know many people who earn in millions just by streaming their gameplay.

If I just talk about topTwitch streamers, here is the list of top 5 with their followers count.

Streamer Followers
Ninja 17 million
Tfue10.7 million
AuronPlay10.3 million
Rubius10 million
shroud9.7 million

Several gamers also earn a good follower on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. Good followers on social media makes then a gaming influencer. Several gaming brands approach them for sponsored post and pay them as per their social media following stats.

Wrap Up

Now when several gaming companies are trying to get recognition ofesports at global sports events, furute ofesports is good. Esports will make its debut at the 2022 Asian Games. Olympic organizing committee is also considering to includeesports at Paris 2024 Olympic Games. So, this is the right time to think about gaming as a career. If you see how much bigesports players are earning, you will surely get a motivation of playing games for hours and improve your skill. For making a career inesports, you also need to keep an eye on all the opportunities around you.

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