The Real Cost of Esports Career
Esports is a really new phenomenon, everybody has the first feeling that anyone can compete and take part in it, which is right in a sense. There are no physical limits to what you have to play. Anyone can click on the keyboard, mouse or gamepad buttons. There are a wide variety of video games to choose from FPS, RTS, MOBA, Battle Royale, Fighting Games etc. The ecosystem is designed so that tournament organizers try to create as much of the same possibilities as possible. They try to ensure that there are no barriers to competition. As long as you are good enough, you will find your way up. In another sense, it is the height of the Dunning Kruger effect. You need to sacrifice a lot of things to become an esports professional and these are the opportunity costs associated with it.
To understand what I mean, I first explain an average practice day. It can vary from game to game, from tournament to tournament, but the general average I found is somewhere between 6-12 hours a day, usually 5-6 days a week. Depending on the scene, a professional player can end up practicing for between 9-12 months a year. What makes it more discouraging is that there are not just ladder games. It’s about replays, communication, strategy, personality conflicts, motivation, and burnout. Each person has a certain amount of mental energy in which they can concentrate on an activity for a long time. If you start too long, you start to burn and cannot practice anymore. Practical examples of this are Brood War or League of Legends, where the average player career can be a quarter or half the length of a CS: GO, Dota 2 or FGC player.
Then we come to the opportunity cost. Practicing 6-12 hours a day and sleeping 8 hours a day gives you little or no time to do anything else. In addition, a professional player may have sponsorship commitments, team commitments or streaming commitments. We do not even need time to play official matches (online in CS: GO or in the League of Overwatch or League of Legends). Then there is the travel time that upsets your biological clock and your rhythm. When you travel, you are more susceptible to illness, you sleep worse, and it is much more tense for players, as the LAN competitions are the ones everyone wants to play in.
When talking about e-sports, it is also common to win younger players. Younger players learn faster than their older counterparts and are less attuned to their ways. That’s why we see young talents and prodigies ascend in healthy scenes. The problem, however, is that it all comes at a cost. When a young person does all these things to become better, a sacrifice occurs. They lose to study or socialize. That’s why we see so many shy or awkward professionals when everyone else is living a normal life, they are looking to become the best in their field. Maintaining a relationship is even more difficult as they do not have the life experience to balance it with their work so that they focus too much on one or the other.