Living in a virtual world can be lucrative. The top gamers in the world have been earning in millions by winning competitions organized at international level. As the online gaming industry is booming, gamers have started to opt gaming as a full-time career. The live gaming competitions have been organized and livestreamed. Moreover, prizes have been given in millions. The ubiquity of gaming competition has enabled gamers to make living by playing games. Dota 2, also known as Defense of the Ancients 2, is one of the most prominent games in electronic sports. The premier competition, officially known as The International, was organized by the game’s creator Valve in 2017. The competition raked over 92 million online viewers. Majority of viewers were based in China. Collectively around 509 million hours of play had been watched, out of which 465 million hours of play had been watched by Chinese viewers.
The craze of e-sports has grown significantly in the past decade. Clement Ivanov, a 28-year-old Dota 2 player and captain of Team Secret is known in the professional gaming world as Puppey. He became pro in 2010 and his growth is parallel to the growth of the e-sports industry in the world. He is one of the highest-earning Dota 2 players and earned nearly $1.65 million from 93 tournaments in prize money, according to E-Sports Earnings. The popularity of e-sports contributed to nearly $1.5 billion in revenue in 2017, according to statistics company SuperData. These games have been considered for the 2024 Olympics.
The best players in the world of e-sports have achieved the celebrity status. Ivanov and his team’s professional careers started when they registered the first win at The International in 2011. Ivanov said, “Before the competition, we were poor and not really doing anything. We went to this Valve competition, and we did well and we won. I can say, well, it was all worth it. I didn’t even care what happened after that. It was worth it.”
Ivanov had to more than only becoming the best player in the world. Professional athletes hire trainers to help them refine their skills and go pro. However, most of the gamers achieved pro level without trainers or coaches. It becomes the responsibility of a captain to provide training and refine their skills whenever necessary. Ivanov’s role is to recruit team members, guide them, coordinate strategy, and maintain a balance in the team. Commenting on the path to success in the e-sports world, he outlined that players need to be really good. There is a very small window for success as there are nearly 10 million Dota 2 players in world, while only 50 are making a good money.
Commenting on the future of the e-sports industry, Ivanov does not see anything changing due to influence of virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI). Though there are AI robots which compete against professional players and dominate them, Dota tournaments are organized for human players to compete. So, AI robots will not take place of human players anytime soon. Ivanov opined that the acceptance of career path and profile of professional gamer is changing. No one can predict how far a professional gamer can go with age. The advancement of technology and increase in number of international gaming competitions show that the e-sports industry has a bright future.