May 13th, 2022

How to get into esports in 2022

A decade ago esports scene was still in its infancy: the best players were paid wages that were barely on par with the ones you would see offered for traditional job positions, and esports competitions were considered ‘big’ if they had a prize pool of $50,000. Naturally, outliers did exist (with one of them being Dota2’s The International - an esports event with a prize pool of $1.6M), but generally speaking - the industry was yet to make a name for itself.

How to get into esports in 2022

Fast forward to 2022 and the esports sphere is booming: the most skilled athletes are paid thousands of dollars in monthly salaries, the rewards for winning a competition have increased tenfold, and a plethora of new job positions have emerged thanks to venture capital investments, major sponsorship deals, and better monetization strategies being applied.

And it’s not a coincidence that the query of “how to get into esports” has seen a steady rise in recent years: the industry offers countless work opportunities to people who are willing to apply themselves. Now, more than ever, gaming enthusiasts are eager to ‘buy’ themselves a ticket to board the esports train before it’s too late.

Esports how to become a player 2022

In this article, we will explore the most common job found in esports: the player. Not only are we going to describe in detail the journey that you will have to embark on to work in this position, but we will also give you a hint at how much money you can expect to make while doing it.

How to become an esports player?

First and foremost, establish your motivations

If the sole reason for your desire to become a professional esports player is to bear the fruits of the ever-expanding esports industry, then, quite frankly, you might not get that far. More often than not, people who are in it only for the money have their efforts hampered by greed as the question of “when am I going to get paid?” is always at the forefront of their actions.

Esports player fortnite motivation

However, if your motivations are pure and more along the lines of having true love for video games, a desire to compete, and be the best in the world - you’re on the right track!

Know the difference between gaming and esports

While making a clear distinction between gaming and esports might sound like a silly task to video game enthusiasts who have been around for years, many people who are entering the space for the first time still don’t quite understand where exactly the line is drawn. Let us help you with that!

  • Gaming is the act of playing video games regardless of the platform or intention behind the action. This might range from you playing games on your personal computer, laptop or gaming console, to even playing games on your mobile device or tablet. In general, any time you are playing a video game - you are gaming.

  • The key aspect that comes into play when talking about esports is competition. Once the purpose of playing a video game has shifted from being a source of entertainment to you consciously practicing the game almost every day in order to compete in tournaments - that is esports.

It is important to know this difference as some people might think they are pursuing a career in esports, while in reality, all they are doing is gaming.

Pick a game

Similar to our first point, don't let the big numbers get to you: a game title that is offering the biggest amount of prize money might not necessarily be the right one for you. When making the decision of which game are you going to pursue a career in, be sure to take your time and choose wisely.

The first mistake that many people do is choosing a game based on what their friends are playing. While that surely is a neat way to get into gaming, it might not be the best way to accomplish your goal of becoming a professional esports player: chances are that there still is a game out there that you’re more talented at.

Esports player overwatch

Talent is an ingredient that often gets forgotten, or people try to downplay its role, but truth be told: if you want to ‘make it’ in esports as a player, talent is essential. Without talent, you could be spending countless hours trying to get better at a game only to find yourself ranked no higher than your friends who play the game casually on the weekends.

So, how do you find the perfect game for you? Follow these steps:

  1. Start by doing research on all the esports game titles that you can find and mark down the ones that sparked your interest. Be sure to include games from different genres. The most popular ones are First-Person Shooter (FPS), Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA), Real-Time Strategy (RTS), and Battle Royale.

  2. Begin playtesting the games that you have chosen but make sure to at least watch the tutorial for beginners and learn the basics before you hop into your first match. Each game should be played for a couple of days in order for you to experience both the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  3. Once you’ve playtested all the games, you can scratch out the ones that you didn’t like. Though, make sure not to be influenced by the outcome of matches that you had but rather think about the game itself and your experience while playing it.

  4. Now, with an updated list of games, it’s time to give them a real shot: play each of the games for at least a couple of weeks and make a conscious effort of trying to become better. You will find more information on how to do that in the chapter about practice.

  5. The last step is to sit down and evaluate your journey in each of the games in order to make the final decision. Take into consideration the progress you had, did the rank you ended up at still felt ‘easy’, and do you want to play the game again and again, for hours on end.

The bottom line: if you're serious about becoming a professional esports player you have to take one game at a time and apply yourself fully in order to find out whether that is the game for you or not. And, most importantly - choose the game that you fell in love with the most because you’re going to spend the next few years playing it.

Esports list of games

Here’s our list of esports games that should definitely be on your radar:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (FPS)

  • Valorant (FPS)

  • Overwatch (FPS)

  • Dota2 (MOBA)

  • League of Legends (MOBA)

  • Starcraft2 (RTS)

  • PUBG (Battle Royale)

  • Fortnite (Battle Royale)

  • Apex Legends (Battle Royale)

  • Call of Duty: Warzone (Battle Royale)

  • Rocket League (Sports)

  • NBA2k (Sports)

  • FIFA (Sports)

Gear up

When competing against other people who are also trying to go pro, you don’t want to put yourself at a disadvantage by having outdated gear. Don’t get us wrong: playing on older gear is not a sin by any means, but it will hinder your performance and slow down your progress: and you don’t want that to happen!

One way to ensure that you’re starting off your esports journey on the right foot is to assess your current equipment and break the piggy bank to invest in some upgrades.

  1. The most important piece of equipment is the machine (PC) that you’re playing the game on: if you’re experiencing frame drops and constant lag, that’s a sign that an upgrade is overdue. Spending the majority of your playtime being frustrated at your computer will surely make your practice sessions less productive.

  2. A close second in the list of equipment priorities is the gaming monitor: the device that is oftentimes overlooked but is crucial if you want to reach peak performance. A good gaming monitor, with a high refresh rate (at least 144hz) and a fast response time (1ms), is going to make you enjoy every single second of your gameplay even more.

  3. The third category on our list is gaming peripherals. Investing in a good mouse, keyboard, headset, and a mousepad is as important as the knives that the chef is using in the kitchen: a sharp set of knives will enhance the chef’s ability to cook an outstanding dish, while a dull knife will surely make it more difficult. The best way to ensure that you’re making a good purchase when it comes to peripherals is to look at the gear list of the best esports players in the world.

  4. The last thing on our list is a recommendation rather than a requirement: have a good gaming chair! Sitting in an uncomfortable way for hours is going to take a toll on your performance while having a chair that properly supports your back throughout your gaming sessions is going to make it feel cozy and pleasant.

Esports console player

Alternatively, if your game is played on a console instead, be sure to have the latest generation console with a good headset and a comfortable controller.

Practice, practice, practice

Here comes the hard part: practice - the thing that takes casual gamers and molds them into esports superstars. Why is it called the hard part? Because, contrary to what you might’ve heard, it’s not as simple as just sitting down and playing the game: real practice takes tons of self-discipline and a genuine desire to become better at the game that you’re playing.

First of all, quality over quantity when it comes to playtime: that’s a rule that should never be forgotten. Many people make the mistake of thinking that in order to get better at a game, they just have to play more, and success will come. Those are the people who will find themselves hitting (what they think) is their skill ceiling far quicker than others: being puzzled about why they are not getting better. You don’t want to be one of them!

What you want to do instead is learn how to practice effectively and realize early on that there is as much practice to be done outside of the server as there is in the game. Operating without this acknowledgment is like trying to run before you learn how to walk: it just won’t end well.

Esports player practice gameplay skills league of legends

Begin by making a training schedule: write down days and times when your practice sessions are going to take place. Once you know the when, it’s time to work on the how: how are these practice sessions going to be conducted and how are you going to make sure that you’re making progress. A good way to ensure that you’re not wasting your own precious time is to make a training plan and start a journal.

When creating your first-ever training plan be sure to not get ahead of yourself: as much as you would like to, do not include the learning of any advanced strategies into the plan, yet. If you want to set your future self up for success, your initial focus should always be on nailing down the basics: game-specific skills that you can always rely upon no matter what happens in the game because they will always stay the same. The mastery of these skills will essentially become your foundation for years to come, and you will be grateful you did not neglect training them. Accordingly, your first job is to note down what those skills are for your particular game.

Once you are starting to feel like the actions required to deliver these basic skills come naturally, and they seem to be engrained in your muscle memory, then you can update your training plan and add another layer to your practice. Yes, you read that correctly: you don’t ever stop training your basics - you just tone down the time you spend on them drastically, thus giving way to more complex aspects of the game like situational protocols, tactics, rotations, and timings. Even the best players in the world still practise their basics every day!

On top of developing your skills through both individual training and matches against other players, you should also always carve out time for gameplay reviews of yourself and professional players. The ability to critisize yourself and learn from your own mistakes, while also absorbing the know-how of people who have walked this road before you, is a gold-mine that once found can provide you with endless possibilities of self-development!

Esports player gameplay review CS:GO

And don’t be afraid to ask for help: if you feel like your gameplay review sessions end with you having more questions than answers, then having a more experienced player (or a coach) assist you in this process can skyrocket your understanding of the game and significantly boost your rate of development as an up-and-coming player. Having a ‘sensei’ of sorts can make you realize your own potential quicker than doing it solo.

When it comes to practice, each session should have a clear agenda: what are you going to do, for how long, and why. This is where journaling comes in handy as it is a great way to not only plan these things and track your progress but also keep you in line when it comes to practicing with a purpose. Finishing off your daily training session with a recap of what you did today and what you learned will make it easier for you to write down what needs to be worked on tomorrow!

Lastly, be sure to have the right mindset when it comes to practice: imagine this as your part-time internship job that you don’t get paid for yet but you’re working towards being offered a full-time position. It’s an investment of your time and energy. As the saying goes - if you don’t treat your hobby as a job, don’t expect it to become one!

Create or join a team

As ridiculous as it might sound, networking, or in other words making acquaintances with people that are operating in your field, is ever more so important in esports, compared to the corporate business world, as the vast majority of job opportunities for you as a player will come through connections that you have made throughout your career.

With that being said, you should be on a constant lookout to befriend people who have exceptional skills and goals similar to yours. Needless to say that making friends and nurturing relationships takes time, so for starters, you should just view these people as companions who are not only making your experience of grinding the game more enjoyable, by saving you from the daunting prospect of solo queue, but also giving you the chance to work on your social skills.

Esports having fun create a team

And, with relationships being a two-way street, you should also think about how you come across in these social interactions: if you want to attract and bond with other friendly professionals, then you have to be one yourself. Strive to always be the best version of yourself, day in, day out: someone with whom others enjoy playing with!

If you manage to do that, eventually these relationships will blossom and bring you opportunities to play in a team: be it you deciding to make your own squad comprised of people that you have come to know, or you potentially getting an invite to join an already established team that sees potential in you and has decided to give you a chance.

Being in a team

Once you find yourself in a team environment, the same lessons that you have already learned about practice are applicable here as well, although they might look a little bit different just because of the fact that they are now to be used to set up a practice regime for a group of people rather than an individual.

Worry not: if you were disciplined about your approach to practise, then you will surely be somewhat ready for the rigorous team practice routine that an already established team has. However, if you have decided to create your own team then you’re also bound to become its leader: a person who is in charge of setting up the team’s culture and ways of practice.

The first, and arguably the most important thing to do when joining or creating a team is to make sure that everyone is on the same page. What does that mean? Well, if you have decided that you are here to pursue a career in esports but your teammate does not have the same ambitions, then these are certainly not the conditions that support your goal.

Esports players being in a team same goals

A team (just like a chain) is as strong as its weakest link: this analogy is true both in and outside of the game server. If a person in your squad is evidently putting in less work than others and they are here to just have fun, then this person is also going to be the reason your team does not achieve its full potential when it comes to both practice and official games.

You have to be honest to yourself and your teammates, and that will mean occasionally cutting the player who’s slacking from the team. The earlier you realize that someone is not adding value to your squad, the less time will be wasted. Remember: you’re not here to make friends - you’re here to become a professional esports athlete. If you do make friends along the way - that’s cool, but it should never be your primary focus.

Once you are confident that the people to who you are going to commit your time to are also here for the same reasons that you are, the work can finally begin! Now, it’s your job as the leader of the squad to decide how this team is going to operate and how, when, and for how long are you going to practice.

A well-celebrated and industry-proven tool when it comes to team management is google sheets: a document that can contain any information that you and your teammates find useful for team operations. This file has virtually no limits, it can be edited in real-time and everyone on the team (including coaches and managers) can have access to do it. Needless to say, your first task should be creating a google sheets file for your team.

If we are to follow the same steps that we introduced for the individual practice routine creation process, then you should be well-equipped to guess what’s coming next. That’s right: finding out everyone’s availability in order to create a practice schedule. Here, we suggest creating a calendar-style tab in the document and asking your teammates to fill in the blanks. Once everyone has completed the task, a clear picture of when and for how long your squad is going to practice will emerge.

Esports players team spirit high five

When it comes to creating a training plan for your team, you should be straightforward with your teammates and establish early on that practice does not mean just showing up, playing a couple of games, and then going offline - that is not how you progress as a team. In order to truly grow as a unit, you have to use the same methodical approach that you had when practicing solo.

Each practice session should begin with a quick recap of the last one: reminding everyone what you previously worked on and what conclusions you made is a great way to subtly put your teammates in the right mindset. After that, you should lay down today’s agenda by stating what you’re going to work upon today and what the plan looks like: making sure that people know what you’re trying to improve upon will always yield better results than conducting practice sessions without a set goal. These goals can be both broad concepts (such as communication and teamplay), or a specific thing (like a strategy) that you want to either polish or test out to see if it’s viable.

A team’s practice session should have dedicated time-slots for things such as scrims against other teams, gameplay reviews, and strategic discussions.

  1. The first one is pretty self-evident: you book practice matches against other teams of similar levels and use them as training grounds for your purposes.

  2. After playing a couple of scrims, you should have a review session: a period of time when you and your teammates sit down to go through the matches you just played with the goal of drawing conclusions - what worked, what didn’t, and, most importantly, why.

  3. And lastly - strategic discussions aim to improve your team’s strategies, protocols, and overall approach to the game by either brainstorming new ideas within the team or straight-up copying things from other, more successful teams. These conversations can be scheduled both at the start or at the end of the day, and they can even be organized between a couple of teammates during off-days if people are available and willing to participate.

Once you have found the right practice routine for your team, it’s just rinse and repeat!

Compete and get noticed

Finally, with you now playing in a team that practices regularly, it’s time to get your name out there and start competing. Your team should not only be on a constant lookout for open tournaments and qualifiers but also, if possible - join a seasonal league. Playing in a league environment is the best way to track your progress as a team because the proof is in the pudding: you either win your division and move up, indicating that you are on the right track, or you stay in the same division (or even drop down to a lower one) if things are not trending upwards.

Esports player team competition @bymas

If that happens, and you notice that your team is seemingly stagnating, then you, as the leader of the team, are responsible for hosting honest team meetings where people can express their views and opinions about the reasons ‘why’ they think that things are not going the way they should. Working things out and assessing these situations should be a team effort. A few of the most common solutions to these situations are a new strategic approach to the game, role swaps, and roster changes. The last solution is the most drastic one and people usually want to avoid it, but truth be told - if you notice, through these conversations, that someone’s heart is no longer in it, or other teammates have outgrown this person in terms of skill and overall value added to the team, then sadly, a change is inevitable.

Finding the right team composition, roles, and strategies that play to your team’s strengths is a grand task that only some will manage to complete, but you have to keep your eyes on the prize. If you work hard and things pan out as you have intended them to, then, eventually, you will play against the best teams in the world and one of two things is going to happen: either you, as a team, will prove your worth to the point of an already established organization offering you contracts and signing you as a unit, or you will get an individual offer to join one. Congratulations, you’ve become a professional esports player!

How much do esports players make?

Unlike traditional sports, esports player salaries are usually pretty well hidden and neither athletes nor organizations that employ them can speak about these figures publicly: it’s actually part of the contract itself, and parties are not allowed to disclose this information. But throughout the years, credible sources have provided enough inside information for us to have at least a reasonable understanding of how much are we talking about here. So, let’s get to it!

If you are the cream of the crop in esports, you’re going to get paid very well: the best players in the most popular esports titles are paid monthly salaries starting from a couple of thousand dollars to some of them even having five-figure salaries that reach in the tens of thousands. On top of that, depending on the contract that you’ve signed and your team’s results, you might be taking home way more than that in tournament prize winnings. The most outrageous example once again comes from the game Dota2 whose last year’s edition of The International had a whooping prize purse of $40M with the best team taking home $18M. At that point, it doesn’t matter if the money is split just among the players or supporting stuff and the organizations also get some - people are becoming millionaires!

How much do esports players make @YEKINDAR

And don’t forget about taxes: even before you have earned and received your first prize money, we advise you to do some research in order to find out what tax procedures are set in place for this type of income in the country that you reside in. Neglecting these payments can and will become a burden for your future self as somewhere down the line, after years of ignorance, the IRS is going to come for you charging you to pay back quite a hefty sum of money (depending on how much you won in prize money).

Lastly, we would like to share a pro tip for all the aspiring esports players out there: social media is your friend! Building a passionate fan base, across multiple platforms, with followers that support you no matter which organization you represent, is a massive leverage tool that will help you convince your future employer that the value you bring to their esports organization is pretty significant and thus you will be in a better position to negotiate a higher salary for yourself.


The competition in the esports sphere is fierce: every single day there are people just like you who are making a conscious decision that they are going to try to work their way into esports, but only those who apply themselves to the fullest and are willing to dedicate the time and energy needed to reach greatness will succeed. The road towards becoming a professional esports player is not an easy one: from hours upon hours of individual practice that might make you feel spent at the end of each and every day, to joining a team and doing it all over again, just in a team environment.

Esports lifting trophy @YEKINDAR

But if you do prosper - the reward is life-changing! Many professional players have said that all the hours that they have put into mastering their craft are certainly worth it because nothing beats the feeling of you being on the big stage in front of tens of thousands of fans chanting your name when you’re walking down to lift the champions trophy!

Written by

Bruno Gailītis

Head of Production


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