It used to be that wishing you could play games for a living was a sign of an unserious person. If we each had a dollar for every time a parent or relative said we spent too much time on our phones, PCs, or consoles, we could buy the moon and maybe a planet or two!
Thankfully, the world is ever-changing, and with traditional jobs (lawyers, engineers, and bankers) paving the way for more relaxed roles, more and more people are turning to games as a full-time job. And it’s lucrative too! After all, pro gaming and esports are expected to generate over $1.5 billion by 2023.
Career coaches are always talking about doing what you love and never having to ‘work’ a day in your life, so going from the comfort of your home to conquering esports tournaments sounds like a step in the right direction. In this article, we’ll look at how to become a successful pro gamer in Africa.
But first, let’s define who a pro gamer is.
Who is a pro gamer?
Queen Arrow | Source: Pulse Kenya
Professional gamers devote their lives to video games and compete in tournaments to win prizes. When pro gamers play, they are paid by sponsors or advertisers, and they may be part of a team of players who also earn money.
Professional gamers, as opposed to those who work in the gaming industry, such as designers or game testers, focus on playing games rather than creating them. As a result, professional gamers spend hours studying and practicing their chosen game until they are proficient enough to compete. In addition, they frequently dedicate hours to practicing and developing essential skills such as hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, and problem-solving abilities.
While commendable, not everyone can become a pro gamer, and a strong passion for games/ gaming doesn’t qualify you to become one. It sounds like serious business, and you may wonder how hard it is to become a professional gamer. Still it just takes a lot of patience, talent, and dedication to attract large audiences and win large cash prizes in the millions.
How to become a successful pro gamer
Now that we’ve got introductions out of the way, here’s how you can play your favorite games while earning money and traveling the world.
Pick your preferred game
The first and most important part of your pro gamer journey is deciding what franchise you will be a pro in. It makes sense to do this first, considering hundreds of titles are out there, with millions looking to make their mark in their respective communities. So, try out many games that interest you, and determine where your strengths lie.
You should also be conscious of what’s trending now— a little market research can help you choose a well-known game in the esports community. In addition, there are a few game categories you should look at even more closely, like:
- First-person shooters (FPS)
- Real-time strategy
- Fighting games
Wear your fighting gloves for competitions like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken (of course). Killer Instinct is also a great option.
- Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA)
The objective for this class of games is simple— defeat the other players and collect powerups or valuable items along the way. From the best of the best in Dota 2, League of Legends, and Strife to classic entries like Arena of Valor, Smite, and Heroes of the Storm, the MOBA community is a great world for you to start your takeover. And you probably will stand out coming from Africa to compete against the rest of the world.
- Card games
This category allows gamers to have fun and play around with strategy. Titles like Magic: The Gathering Arena, Hearthstone, Yu Gi Oh! Master Duel and Gwent are great options to consider if you want to start your pro gaming career in card games.
Remember one important rule: make sure you have fun no matter what.
Level UP! Your game
You know what they say; practice makes perfect. Your next step is to make sure you level up your gameplay. After all, that’s what makes you a pro.
But it isn’t just about playing and practicing for hours on end. You should add strategy to your training sessions to get into the most prominent esports tournaments and have a good chance of winning them.
Thankfully, you don’t have to figure all that out alone. There are many resources and materials online to help you finetune your gameplay, from tutorials that show you how to blend efficient techniques into your gaming to those that improve your aim and accuracy in FPS games, for example.
Another excellent way to learn is to watch professional tournaments and take notes on the best players' strategies or watch players while they stream their gameplay. Your final boss mode, however, would be pressure-testing your skills from time to time to see how you would fare under the stress and nerves of an actual tournament.
You can do this by joining a few amateur competitions here and there. It allows you to practice what you’re learning in the real world while you make a small splash in the waters of the esports community.
Find and join a community
Speaking of communities, there’s nothing more amazing than finding your tribe. Good gaming communities in Africa help you get noticed, but they also help you develop a sense of belonging, make joining a team easier, and give you access to the information you can’t find all on your own.
Two’s company, three’s fun, and with a community of your own, you can grow even faster. Finding a community can be tough, but with the Tribe community, gamers can come together to play, learn, and connect– easy peasy. Being a member of the Tribe community gives you the following:
- Access to exclusive games and events from all Tribe Campuses
- Opportunities to connect with other gamers and make new friends
- Access to free-to-play competitions with gamers across the continent
- Regular newsletters and updates on the latest news and trends in the gaming world
- And much more!
Invest in your gear
There’s also the issue of leveling up your gear. It may feel like you’re rushing, but a great way to prepare for the esports world is by making sure you have the right equipment to play. These include;
- a gaming PC, laptop, or console
- Mechanical keyboard and Gaming mouse (if you’re opting for PC gaming)
- High-quality webcam and microphone
- Ergonomic gaming chair (for comfort)
- Excellent audio equipment like surround-sound speakers and a headset
- Backup power and a stable internet connection
This list sounds expensive, but it’ll be worth it, trust us.
Get yourself a team
If your game of choice is played by a team or involves co-op, you need to find other people you can play with asap. The earlier you can, the quicker you get used to different playing styles. It will also help you communicate better.
Always remember to be well-behaved (seriously, no insults or personal attacks) in tournaments or communities you join so you don’t ruin your chances of joining a great team because of bad first impressions. If you’re lucky, a team might reach out to you, but don’t be shy to make the first move as well.
Take it to the big leagues
You’ve seen how it is locally, but it’s time for you to spread your wings and compete in bigger leagues or tournaments. You can do this by attending professional tournaments online or in person to watch other gamers do their stuff, and if you feel ready enough, you can even compete as well.
Keep your appearances and performances up, and you’ll be able to make a name for yourself, grow followers, and establish yourself as one of Africa’s biggest gamers.
Get a Sponsor
Sponsors are a great way to market yourself and your skills, and some of them offer you bonuses for the tournaments you win as well. Your end of the bargain, of course, is usually to act as an ambassador to their brand and represent them anywhere. Joining an established team may mean you don’t need to source for sponsors (since some of them already have one), so that’s something to look out for.
Take care of yourself: Act like a pro
Think of pro gaming as a sport (because it is). Sportsmen take good care of their nutrition, their health, and themselves in general, and you should as well. Eat properly, rest up, and get plenty of exercise. Pro gaming is a career, so find the perfect work-life balance.
There’s the social aspect too. You need to maintain a reputation that is free from scandals and always is respectful to everyone in the African (and global) gaming community at all times. It’ll open doors for you!
Becoming a successful pro gamer in Africa is a difficult task, but it is certainly possible with the right mindset, dedication, and hard work. To be successful, you must first identify your strengths and weaknesses and then work to improve your skills. You should also understand the game you're playing, research your opponents, and learn from your mistakes.
By following these tips, you can set yourself on the path to becoming a successful pro gamer in Africa.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a pro gamer?
A: A pro gamer, short for professional gamer, is someone who earns a living by playing video games competitively, often in organized tournaments or leagues.
Q: How do I become a pro gamer?
A: To become a pro gamer, you must have a high skill level in a particular game and compete in tournaments and leagues to gain recognition. It takes a lot of dedication, practice, and hard work to succeed.
Q: Can I become a pro gamer if I live in Africa?
A: Yes, you can become a pro gamer if you live in Africa. Although the esports industry is still growing in Africa, there are opportunities to compete in local and international tournaments and to build a fanbase online.
Q: What skills do I need to be a successful pro gamer?
A: To be a successful pro gamer, you need excellent hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, good communication skills, and the ability to think strategically. You must also be disciplined, dedicated, and have a strong work ethic.
Q: How do I improve my skills as a pro gamer?
A: To improve your skills, you need to practice consistently and analyze your gameplay to identify areas for improvement. You can also learn from other pro gamers by watching their gameplay and studying their techniques.
Q: How much money can I make as a pro gamer?
A: The amount of money you can make as a pro gamer varies depending on your skill level, the game you play, and the tournaments or leagues you compete in. Some pro gamers make millions of dollars annually, while others earn a more modest income.