Is gaming a career? Can you play video games as a viable career choice?
People have been dreaming of turning their hobbies into their full-time job since the dawn of time. The reality is that for most people, that is and likely always will be mostly a dream. Well, gaming and esports are no different. Watching your favourite streamer or pro game may make you wonder if gaming is a career… but only a few of the most dedicated out there ever even come near that reality.
While that may sound like a resounding ‘no’, the opposite is actually the case. With enough dedication and plenty of preparation, gaming can become a potentially profitable career. Of course, we are talking about playing video games as a career, developing and creating them is a given.
Is Gaming a Career?
Gaming as a career is always a viable choice. There is plenty of jobs in the gaming market in various fields.
Game developers employ thousands of people, so do esports tournament companies and esports teams. There is plenty of jobs in gaming and all the industries tied to playing video games. Now yes, learning to code, design or test is hard work and will take a long time, but it’s also a highly in-demand and well-paid career option for those who master the skills involved. Of course, there would also BE no gaming industry without people making games, so while it isn’t a world-famous streaming channel, jobs like that make those possible in the first place.
The same is true for the event staff that makes those incredible League of Legends, Dota 2 and CS:GO competitions possible. Esports started out in basements, in small community halls, organized by a few players after work… and now there are dedicated esports stadiums all around the world. There is plenty of careers in this industry varying from project management to broadcasting production and everything in-between.
Esports and gaming have many more potential career paths – with things like crypto gaming on the rise, there is a direct intersection between the financial industry and gaming, allowing investors and crypto holders to directly use their investments like NFT tokens in games. Naturally, if you have the financial freedom, you can also go and straight up buy an esports team. The biggest esports teams out there have yearly turnovers in the tens of millions and are valued above that still.
Investment and sponsorship opportunities have long since opened the door to intersections between gaming and completely unrelated industries. In other words, it’s perfectly possible to stumble across an esports or gaming related job even if you work in, for example, the betting industry – esports betting is growing daily. The same is true for things like hardware design and peripherals. gaming wouldn’t even exist without the breakthroughs in technology we have seen since the beginning of computing.
Is streaming games a good career?
There are plenty of opportunities for a career in gaming as a streamer or content creator. It not quite as easy as you might expect though. Making enough money from your content is a hard job. Just putting on your webcam and sharing your stream is not enough to pay the bills and be a viable career choice. The rise of YouTube and Twitch do give plenty of avenues for people to pursue careers just by playing video games, but there are plenty of hurdles along the way.
First up, you either have to be really good at a game, or have a likeable personality or ideally both. Just being good at a game or just being a likeable person wont garner the views, partnerships or donations needed to pay the bills. Furthermore, consider gaming a full time job, even more so then some other careers. You might have to keep a tight schedule with plenty of hours spent at the PC to entertain the masses. We are talking 60+ hours a week or more.
To be successful as a gaming content creator, you will have to put a lot of effort and your success is not guaranteed, nor is your longevity in the scene. Only go for this career path if you really plan to stick with it.
Is esports a good career?
Esports is the industry that offers plenty of career options right now. One might think a career in esports only means playing video games on the highest competitive level or being a coach. In fact, esports is a multi-billion dollar industry and the highest employer by demand right now. All of your traditional industries are now finding ways to be involved with esports, and esports organizations hire everything from fitness coaches to chefs and every bit of talent that would give them an advantage.
If your goal is to be a pro player, you need to know that as a long-term prospect this option is not really viable. Most pro-athletes retire by their late 20s, and if you don’t plan ahead to transition to another role you might be left stranded. For a long-term career you have to diversify your skill set in order to remain in the esports industry. Keep in mind esports titles and games change constantly so keep an open mind and be flexible in your approach.
Finally, rather than asking if gaming or esports are a good career, it’s better to ask if a specific job is a match for an individual. While game programmer sounds like a lot of gamers’ dream job, the reality is less playing games all day and more brooding over code for several hours a day, every day. A dream for some, a nightmare for most.
It’s also easy to overlook the less ‘flashy’ jobs in the gaming industry. It’s not always obvious how to get a job in esports, but there are more available than people realize. A shy introvert would likely struggle with being a successful streamer, while someone who is outgoing and thrives on contact with others wouldn’t do so well in a programming job that puts them in front of a screen 12 hours a day. Something else to consider is that with the many, many other industries that now touch onto gaming, it’s easy to follow just about any passion and still aim for a spot in the gaming and esports industries. At the end of the day, esports teams even employ their own healthcare personnel and chef staff to cater to their players – any job can be part of an esports career!
There is something for everyone in both gaming and esports.