Daniel started working in E-Sports at the sweet age of 16 after being a passionate fan. Now I’m 22 years old and work as a filmmaker and videographer around Ipswich, the only trophies reminding me of my past career being the sponsored mouse and keyboard used to write this article right here.
New words creep into the Oxford Dictionary all the time, as our society evolves so does our vocabulary. One of these additions is the word “E-Sports”, a sign of the mainstream acceptance gaming competitions have garnered. Still, many people discover the concept and imagine a group of sweaty teens sitting in front of their computer all night while drinking litres of soda.
In some way they are completely correct, playing any game competitively comes with a rigorous training schedule, comparable to the life-consuming efforts of more traditional athletes. Every other assumption drawn from the stereotypical gamer couldn’t be more wrong however. For every hour they spend playing their game of choice, professional players also work to keep their physical fitness at its peak. Workout schedules devised by professional sports coaches and a regulated healthy diet is the standard in E-Sports all around the world.
Organisations that fund these players are backed by some of the most rich and famous in the world. People like Michael Jordan, Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher have major shares in E-Sports teams or even outright own them. Player salaries now average in the five-figure area and they keep increasing.
“Compared to last year the earnings of both European and North American players have increased phenomenally.”
League of Legends player Nubar “Maxlore” Sarafian told me this in an Interview we conducted in January of 2016, nowadays the british player would probably scoff at the salary he received back then.
Passionate gamers are being given enough money during their multi-year contracts to set them up for their future life. Many former players are now living comfortably and have founded their own businesses. One of them is Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodriguez Santiago, who became notorious for being one of the first Pro-Gamers to become a millionaire. Nowadays his net worth is estimated at about $5 million
Rodriguez pioneered another aspect of the culture, the rockstar-esque admiration these players enjoy. From the applause of a sold-out Wembley Arena to having fangirls scream their names, their status is becoming comparable to traditional athletes.
Naturally this amount of growth doesn’t come without its faults, shady managers and contractual conflicts are just as much a part of the community as in any other sport.
However, as E-Sports grows it’s important to remember what it has done for everyone working in it. It has enabled a future for many young people who thought they had none. Socially awkward teens have risen to become athletes, role models and entrepreneurs.
For this alone E-Sports deserves to be celebrated.