At first glance, becoming an esports pro probably seems like the flashiest and most interesting career path within the industry. After all, what could be more fun than being paid ridiculous amounts of money in order to play games in fronts of thousands of people?
Well, much like the dream to become an astronaut, rockstar or the president of the United States, only a very, very, very small number of people ever even come close to achieving certain career dreams. There are thousands, possibly tens of thousands gamers, with more joining every year that are hoping to get one of usually about 5 spots on a pro team – while there are, of course, dozens of teams in dozens of different esports, the math doesn’t add up.
Luckily, not being able to become a pro player doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to work in the esports industry in a different job. The field of esports isn’t so much one or even five different roles, it’s almost an entire eco-system with dozens upon dozens of different roles, all equally necessary in order for things to go off without a hitch.
If that sounds a little too abstract, consider what, in a typical esports tournament, is needed for it to be a success. A popular game, equipment for the players to play on, players, a venue, presenters, fans and one hell of a lot of funding.
Now look at these individual elements and consider their viability as a job. Professional fan may not be a job, but the other fields have plenty of potential. Wealthy players that lack the skill or determination to become pro players have the option of simply buying themselves an esports team – this is, once again, a rather small group of people, but it just proves something: There are options.
When it comes to the equipment that the gamers use – chairs, PCs, keyboards and more, there is plenty of potential there. Not only does the equipment have to be maintained and assembled by technicians and checked in order to be approved for tournaments, but new parts, improved technologies and more are constantly released. They have to be developed, and with the way esports are growing, there are already dedicated esports hardware manufacturers emerging. That’s an entire career field all on its own.
As for the players – working directly with them is possible in a variety of job roles. From dieticians, chefs, managers, and coaches to dedicated doctors and even mental health professionals, there is plenty there that doesn’t require specialised technology knowledge…or even particular gaming skill.
As for the venue, event managers, hosts, presenters, stage hands, sound, lighting and recording technicians and experts are absolute must-haves for any event, but especially so for esports. If something fails at a critical moment, it’s important that it be fixed or replaced as soon as possible, and that requires skilled professionals on hand. Another advantage of this type of job: You’ll almost definitely get to meet your favourite players as you help them set up and get ready for their big plays.
To sum it all up – if you are looking at working in the esports industry, don’t be bogged down by thinking that becoming a player is the only possibility – there are dozens, if not hundreds of others, ones that may suit you better or be more easily achievable. Don’t abandon your dream to join the esports world altogether – vibrant as it is, esports definitely has a place for you somewhere, you simply have to find it, whether it is behind a screen, a camera or in front of one.