Gamers take part in a gaming tournament in Kampala [File Photo]

Gaming is big money these days. No longer just a hobby once confined to bedrooms, competitive gaming is now in the world’s spotlight. It’s a thriving and lucrative industry that attracts millions of viewers from around the world, supporting their favorite teams in a variety of different games. This year alone, the DotA 2 International boasted a massive prize pool of more than $20 million. But how do you become a professional gamer? It’s not easy, but it is possible, and we’ll look at various ways to go about it below.

Practice

There’s no shortcut to this one. Like any other sport or skill in the world, practicing your game of choice is an imperative. If you want to be one of the very best, then it’s up to you to put in the daily hours, and hone your skills until you’re able to melee with the fiercest of foes. Practicing online is a good way to expose yourself to the different variety of players out there. Alternatively, if you’re part of a team, you may want to look into the benefits and packages of a dedicated server. Not all games allow the creation of a gaming server, so see which ones do and do not. In general, your own server affords you exclusivity to perfect your strategies, coordination and play executions without the bother of trolls and people who might not take the game seriously. This type of regimen may be difficult to stick to, but if you’re dedicated to being a pro-gamer, there’s no way around this. Without the necessary skill that comes with the crucible of routine, it simply won’t be possible to compete with the pros.

Choose your game

Just as there exist a multitude of sports, so too exist a number of different eSports. It may be a case of playing the field until you find a game you’re comfortable with, or simply choosing one and focusing all your efforts towards mastering it. A good starting point would be to choose a game with a decent prize pool and a number of tournaments. Games such as DotA 2, League of Legends, StarCraft II and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, all have a significant following and several tournaments throughout the year, broadening your chances of entering and winning.

Live-streaming options like Twitch

Other than tournaments, another option to generate income is to stream your game of choice live to attract an audience. Subscribing to live-streaming sites such as Twitch and the recently-acquired by Microsoft, Beam, is a sure-fire way to go. Once you have an account, you’ll need to build up a following. Streaming often, providing commentary – either humorous or informative – is something a lot of Twitch viewers expect, and, if you’re good enough, will bring in a large amount of viewers. From there you’ll get paid from advertising revenue generated by visitors, and if you get large enough, you may even garner sponsorship deals.