16 Sep





 min read

Alternatives To Going Pro In Esports

Being a pro esports player isn’t for everyone. These career alternatives are ideal for gamer’s skill sets.

We often compare esports to traditional sports when explaining its benefits. Like basketball, football, and others, esports improves young students' teamwork, communication, and discipline. More colleges are offering esports scholarships to students across the country (and internationally). No matter the sport, every young athlete eventually wonders if their skills will stop after graduation or continue into a career. 

But, what are the alternatives if you don’t become a professional esports player? Just as traditional sports athletes need to face this question, esports players at the high school and collegiate levels should also prepare for life after competitive play. 

Source: Pexels

What does going pro mean in esports? 

In simplest terms, you’re a professional esports player when money from competitions earns you an income. Unlike traditional sports, your physical stature (and even your physical location in some instances) are not a barrier to being a pro esports player. This creates an interesting professional dynamic. For example, a player can win several local level Mario Kart tournaments and be considered semi-pro. Or, a player can win millions in one match. 

In large competitions, however, like the Rocket League Championship, the players are typically dedicating full-time hours to practices, exhibitions, and competitions. Thus, making video gaming their sole profession. 

Professional traditional sports are often organized in similar ways. There are minor and major leagues; there are contract players; there are national and local leagues. The unifying factor between professional esports and traditional sports can arguably come down to money, time dedication, and outside support. 

The more money they're making, the more time you spend, and the more outside support a player has (like sponsorships), the more professional they are. 

Working in the gaming industry

While in school, competitive esports players should always plan for a backup in case they don’t go pro. They shouldn’t give up their passions and interests though. By taking classes similar to esports or video game management, design, or development, they are diversifying their abilities from the start. 

Transitioning into the gaming industry after playing competitively is one of the more natural alternatives for players. Game developers understand the appeal of esports and its profit potential. Not every game should be an esports title, however, for developers that are seeking to create the next Valorant or Rocket League, the expertise of a former competitive player is valuable. 

It is important to observe the market of games while you are a player. Why do developers choose to release new seasons when they do? How do they market to your peers? How do they manage large-scale competitions? 

Through first-hand observation during their times as a player, competitive esports players can take their historical knowledge and shape the next generation of gaming by working in the industry. 

Former competitive players are also excellently suited for managing esports events, working with sponsorship negotiations, and developing mechanics in a new game. It comes down to individual interest, however, esports, unlike other sports, opens up a feast of hybrid STEM and business-related job opportunities – opportunities that only seem to be increasing exponentially. 

Becoming an esports coach

You can’t teach a game if you don’t know how to play it. There is a reason many college coaches are former players themselves. There will always be a connection between esports and education (especially due to its natural connection to STEM education). 

If going pro isn’t in the cards for some players, they may just be destined to grow a whole new field of sports mentorship. Being an esports coach is dynamic and brimming with opportunity. 

If you’re coaching basketball, you’re coaching basketball. But, in esports, you’re not just coaching one game. As an esports coach, you can teach one title or a suite of them. You can work with other coaches to create innovative coaching instructions that borrow from other game mechanics, making well-rounded and agile players. 

Coaching is flexible. Former players can choose the age and skill level they excel at working with. Coaches can even help introduce new games to the competitive landscape. 

These alternatives to going pro only scratch the surface. Esports players boast skills that illuminate their paths in STEM, Business, and education in a way that no other game can provide. 

Esports players boast skills that illuminate their paths in STEM, Business, and education in a way that no other game can provide.

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