The esports industry has seen sustained, rapid growth over the last few years, with the global market now valued just shy of $1 billion.
As advertisement dollars, sponsorships and merchandise begin to ramp up to meet rising viewership, the professionals that drive the industry are starting to see significant income opportunities.
According to CNBC’s latest episode of Beyond the Valley, which featured a number of professionals and industry leaders, it’s becoming more and more common for esports gamers to finish their careers as millionaires as payouts for tournaments continue to hit record highs.
For instance, Fornite’s Epic Games announced earlier this year that it would be devoting $100 million to tournament play for the first season of competition. More recently, The International 2018, the world’s largest tournament for Dota 2, had a total prize pool of $25.5 million.
However, much like the careers of professional athletes, the ability to compete at the highest level of the esports circuits is limited by age. In fact, most gamers are retiring in their late 20s and early 30s as reaction times begin to degrade.
“The main reason, and it’s the same reason for pretty much all esports, it’s the reactions and just thinking ability does slowly degrade, where you’re just not going to be as fast on your feet as a 21-year-old,” said Conran Tobin, or “Rannerz,” a professional FIFA 19 player.
This has resulted in top gamers packing in a lot of training in a very short period of time. For instance, Tobin says he trains more than 16 hours a day and plans tactics around his strengths, a common practice among professional gamers.
Given the concurrent rise in streaming popularity through platforms like Twitch, it seems that esports is quickly becoming a mainstream form of entertainment and top players stand to benefit financially.
Photo: Falco Ermert / Flickr
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