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Gametech: “I Turned My Hobby Into a Profession: Esports” How, Why and Was It Worth It?

This February, The Fintech Times is taking a deep dive into the world of gametech. Grab your headsets and controllers and tune in to hear about the latest tech and celebrities influencing the market to the development of esports and much more.

“I turned my hobby into a profession.” For many of us, this is the dream.

In the past, professional gaming has had a stigma, in which those who sought to make a living off of gaming were not taken seriously. However, mainstream media’s adoption of esports and the growing prize pools has begun to remove this negative connotation; as professional gaming booms in our society, we reached out to experts in the field to understand their careers, and if they have ultimately believed it was worth it:

Christian Konczal, Director of Esports at Champlain College
Christian Konczal, Director of Esports at Champlain College

Christian Konczal, Director of Esports at Champlain College

“In my role as a director and head coach of a collegiate esports program at Champlain College I would say in general that it came down to effort, time, and luck; I had to put in the effort across the stretch of time it took before I finally got lucky. Esports as an industry has largely grown off the backs of volunteers, most competitions for the past twenty years have been the result of passionate fans wanting to create an environment to compete where there once was none. Through volunteering I was able to network with other ambitious professionals, gain a wealth of experiences that I rely on to this day, and still pursue the academic and professional tracks of my life in order to round out my offerings.

“I discovered an appreciation for higher education that I lacked as an undergrad while pursuing my master’s degree, and knew that I wanted to run collegiate esports programs as that environment allowed me to prioritise values that aren’t always beneficial to commercial pursuits. I place a very high value on the overall well-being of my students in and out of the game and am able to create a culture and environment I wish had existed just ten years ago when I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree.

“Overall it has absolutely been worth it, though there are some considerations that I would pass on to anyone interested in this particular part of the esports industry. As a result of the esports industry being so new, and collegiate even more so, I have to wear a LOT of hats. At any point in the day I can either be a coach, a broadcast producer, shoutcaster, social media manager, content creator, mediator, facility manager, program developer, event coordinator…the list goes on. I will also often joke that the ‘monkey’s paw’ of my position is that I wanted so desperately to find a job in the gaming industry only to find that I now lack any time to actually play games. My time is spent helping others play games, which is great if you find satisfaction in helping others achieve their goals, (and I’m very fortunate that I do), but not so great if you prioritise gaming itself.”

Garett Bambrough, GM of the Pittsburgh Knights 

Garett Bambrough, GM of the Pittsburgh Knights 
Garett Bambrough, GM of the Pittsburgh Knights

“As a former professional Counter-Strike player, I can say that my whole journey throughout esports has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life. It started off as a competitive hobby, but as I became better and discovered leagues and events that could feed my competitive nature I decided to push and find out how far I could progress. The esports scene back in 2005 was not the size it is now, but I was paid well, and given the opportunity to travel internationally to compete against the best players in the world. Using my experience as a professional player, I was able to turn that into years of coaching teams in CS:GO. The next step in my career was to work on the back end and assist an organisation in growing their esports program and take on a new challenge. After working as an esports consultant for the Pittsburgh Knights for 2 years, I was promoted to be their General Manager and consider myself extremely fortunate to have a career in an industry I have loved and been involved in for over 18 years.”

Bradley Beal, Event Manager at BADASS Studios and founder of BADASS University All Stars
Bradley Beal, Event Manager at BADASS Studios and founder of BADASS University All Stars

Bradley Beal, Event Manager at BADASS Studios and founder of BADASS University All Stars

“Turning any hobby into a profession is always going to be worth it, turning something I loved into making a space and creating things that others can use and love as well is the most rewarding thing for me. Getting to talk to industry professionals and tweak how I work based on hundreds of others is amazing, the support and community behind esports is so open, honest and helpful with any information from something so miniscule to major events is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, it was years of countless hours into projects and work, but that’s mostly due to not many seeing it as a viable career option as it’s tied to video games, but any work that I do now and no matter how many hours I will put into a project, it will always be 100% worth it.”

Kairo, male caster and player for BADASS University All Stars

“I wouldn’t quite call myself a professional just yet but yes it was entirely worth it. My confidence has grown so much over my esports journey and personal development has been unmatched. The connection, bonds and clients I have met and the lessons that they have taught were invaluable and while I have started to make my hobby profitable I feel the real worth is not what lines the pockets but the experiences and the journey I will continue to follow.”

 

Author

  • Francis is a journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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