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Professional Video Gamers

Isn’t it every game fanatic’s dream to earn money from his or her obsession?  After all, there is a significant investment of time, money, and training involved.  But how realistic is earning money through video game prowess?  Except for a handful of truly professional gamers, the answer is none.

Professional video game competitions are not a new concept.  The Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) is the biggest touring competition in the world and has been for many years.  The World Cyber Games, hosted in South Korea, is known as the ’Olympics of Cyber Gaming’.  A variety of smaller leagues focus on sports, like the Electronic Sports World Cup.  On an even smaller scale, local cyber-cafes and even some exclusively on-line tournaments offer small cash rewards for top finishers.

The most famous name in professional gaming is Johnathan Wendel, who goes by the screen-name Fatal1ty.  He’s earned over $100,000 before in a single year of competition.  If you think you’ve got what it takes to defeat him, think again.  A professional gamer like him practices at least 9 hours a day.  That’s right, 9 hours.  You essentially have to put all of your eggs in one basket in order to pursue a career in professional video gaming.  I’d say your time and money would be better invested in something like a university degree, or something like that!

While there’s definitely cash up for grabs right now, there are several key problems that the professional gaming industry will have to overcome in the following years.

The technical challenge of maintaining computers that are up to date, along with software that is fresh and popular, is a daunting task.  Consider how often a league would have to upgrade its computers (because you can’t allow people to bring their own) in order to stay competitive.  Next, consider that games don’t age very well and that as soon as you switch games, many pro gamers will probably have to stop while a new generation of gamers who have played the new game step up to the plate.

Lastly, consider that most games aren’t designed for serious competition.  Often, a league will have to tailor a game’s code in order to eradicate loopholes and provide a level playing field.

Sure, some guys (and girls) make it big playing video games, but for us little guys (and girls!!) we should stick to playing games for fun and writing the occasional article about them.