Working towards a career in esports or gaming while quarantined featuring insights from syndereN, swim, and BanKs
Working towards a career in esports while quarantined featuring syndereN, swim, and BanKs ⚡⚡⚡ Esports news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
The coronavirus epidemic is an unfortunate happening that has many people stuck in their homes with nothing to do. Due to everyone being stuck at home, gaming and esports have seen a spike in activity across its entirety. Esports are even beginning to be aired on huge sports networks like ESPN due to no traditional sports being able to take place. The threat that this virus presents is truly daunting, and one the world isn't taking lightly.
I wanted to create this article for the people who are stuck at home and unable to work. Esports and gaming is a huge passion for many people and one they dream of turning into a career. So, what if you could make the most use of your time at home by working towards your dream career in esports or gaming?
Hitmarker provided me with their comprehensive 2019 esports job report that provides tons of good information surrounding potential openings in esports and gaming. I am going to do my best to hit the highlights of this report, but the provided link will take you straight to the entire thing.
I also reached out to professionals across four fields of esports careers; social media management, content creation, talent roles, and journalism. The insights from these professionals could prove useful in your journey to turning esports into a full-time job, and I hope this helps answer some questions about the path that lies ahead.
What's out there?
Hitmarker is an esports and gaming career job site that offers users tons of ways to filter and narrow down search results. Hitmarker only posts jobs in esports and gaming, making it so that you don't have to cipher through jobs in fields you aren't passionate about. According to Hitmarker's 2019 report, there were 11,027 jobs, 9,705 of those were paid, and 8,330 were full-time, which is a massive hike from 2018s numbers. 3,123 of these jobs were junior-level positions, meaning a limited amount of experience in said fields were required.
This 2019 Hitmarker report is a very encouraging one, and one that proves a career in gaming and esports is obtainable and realistic, and not just a pipe-dream.
Social media management
Social media management (or SMM) plays an extremely vital role not only in esports but also in many other fields of work. SMM helps put organizations at the fingertips of their fans and users, serving as an essential, and fun, means of communication to their audience.
I spoke with a member of WePlay! 's SMM team in r8ddit and asked him how he obtained a career in SMM, and what he recommended for aspiring SMM personnel:
I guess the first thing that you need to mention is that you actually need to like to speak with people, cuz with time you may realize that it's a little too much. Second thing, SMM, is a little blog with photos or on a Twitter account. It is an art, the art of communication. It might be funny, but through your blog, you are trying to express yourself. And you need to understand how to make it right. You need to understand your community, common topics, jokes (how to make your content funny and not too "try hard"). You need to speak on the same level.
After that, you need to understand your theme, type of content (what exactly you want to share). It might be pictures, videos, music, or texts. It depends on what you want to do so you can decide what skills to develop. But you need to have a passion for what you're covering. My passion is games, and I love to speak with people. I really like to make videos and work with Photoshop. Then, I need to share it. That is my formula.
Content creation is a huge dream for many people in gaming. Playing a game you love and creating content to share with friends, family, and complete strangers is fun and exciting. But, many people don't really know how to get there or how others did. I reached out to Sean "swim" Huguenard about his grind to becoming a full-time YouTuber and Twitch streamer, and what he thinks people who are passionate about content should do to work towards a career in the field:
I started playing Gwent and really enjoyed it, and a friend of mine at the time asked me to stream, which a few people over the years in Dota suggested as well, so I ended up trying it out. I blew up almost immediately, but I think the most important thing is that I feel like I kinda found my calling. It was incredibly empowering and I've never felt lost since.
I think for aspiring content creators it's super important to pick something you enjoy. Honestly the reality is you'll eventually burn out if it's your job, but picking something you're really passionate about will make it take years instead of months. Don't worry about most of the "setup" costs, I think a lot of people care way too much about meaningless stuff like equipment and overlays.
I don't recommend a greenscreen or fancy audio equipment; 3 years into streaming and I still use a crappy USB microphone. The only thing that matters after that is being able to put in the research and time (be prepared for 50-80 hours a week with no income at the start). Lastly, a tip for growth: the strategies to grow when you're small are the opposite of the strategies employed by the already big fish. Think about that, and understand that, and you'll do just fine.
Talents are a huge part of the viewing and content side of esports. Casters, analysts, hosts, and interviewers (sorry if I forget to list a role) play a large part in the viewer experience and presenting players, matches, and stakes. Without talent, esports events would be a dull experience and a hard entry point for newcomers to our passion.
I reached out to Troels Lyngholt "syndereN" Nielsen about his journey to becoming a talent in the esports scene and what he recommends aspiring talent to work on:
I got into casting back in DotA, actually. There wasn't really any expert angle back then in casting, it was mostly solo casting by one play-by-play commentator. I talked to Madmortigan back then (American guy who mainly cast NA stuff) to hear if he wanted to try to have me on. He did, people really liked it, and things took off from there. Esports now is a lot more crowded with talent and people trying to break through, so it's pretty tough. We're not really in the infancy anymore. The best thing is to have a good work ethic, put in the hours, listen to constructive criticism while blocking out flat out hate, and try to find a way to stand out and be unique in your own way.
James "BanKs" Banks also provided insight into his journey into becoming a talent in esports, and how he never gave up and kept striving even while working full-time:
I think that's a big mistake; people dream so hard that they don't have an idea of saying, "Oh, maybe if this doesn't work, there's not another option." They're so focused on making it happen, and I agree with that because, like you want to make happen, it's a dream, but not everyone can live out their dreams. I'm very lucky that I can, but it certainly hasn't been easy. And I come from a council estate background, low income, meaning that I didn't have anyone to bankroll me. I had to make this work myself. I moved out at a very young age from my parents, and I kind of had to stand on my own two feet, and I had to make this work.
Basically, everything that I did, I did it while I was studying, or I had to have a full-time job and to do esports as a part-time. So for many years, I burned the candle at both ends doing normal life, normal work, normal studying, and then esports in the evening, the whole time. I took the long route, but I just never gave up on it.
As a journalist, I can say that it is one of the most rewarding careers I have ever been a part of. I didn't feel it appropriate to spend the time here describing my journey to becoming a journalist, so I sat down with two of my WePlay! colleagues and spoke with them about how they worked towards a full-time role in journalism.
Umar is the fighting game extraordinaire at WePlay!. He is knowledgable in many other fields of esports, but fighting games, along with RPGs, are his passion:
I've worked across multiple industries doing very different things, but writing was always my first love. I never imagined I could make a career out of it, but here I am. Esports journalism requires more than just a passion for the games. You need to be willing to learn, leave your comfort zone, and make sacrifices. Every hurdle you scale will get you that much closer to your goal.
Arseny is our resident Dota 2 expert, but he is also very knowledgable about shooters. He came from a background outside of esports or gaming, but used his experience to propel him into the career of his dreams:
I couldn't even dream that I would be where I am now. I always loved games, including esports. I played Dota 2 a lot, but I did not have a goal to get into esports, because I did not think that I was good enough or had any vital links. I launched my career as a journalist, if you can say that, on a website dedicated to football and the Manchester United Football Club. I translated articles there, made digests, and we even translated a book about EPL! Of course, this was my hobby, and I did everything free of charge.
Later, after graduating from the Institute of Journalism, I got a job as a BTL manager in an advertising agency. It was hard for me for many reasons, but one day a friend — I met him on the aforementioned fansite — wrote to me and suggested working as a translator for a website about esports. I agreed: some extra pennies while the topic sounded quite interesting. All in all, I leaped from a translator to a real journalist. The moral is: follow your hobby and try to find a place of interest, then work hard and the money will come.
Just write! Journalists are writers, first of all. Create a blog, subreddit, Twitter account — just write, compose your texts, try finding new approaches to the game, dig deeper, re-read, and get embarrassed by your previous texts. Once you figure out what your strengths are, upgrade them. Then, just look for a vacancy and be bold.
I truly hope this helped provide some insight for your journey into a career in esports. If you have any questions about journalism and how to take the next step, don't hesitate to reach out to me on Twitter, @DBantelauthor.