The world’s leading gamers are now multimillionaire superstars that draw adulation from vast legions of fans across the globe. They spend their time playing their favourite game and are handsomely rewarded for their efforts – they are living the dream in many ways. The $1.1 billion esports scene continues to grow in popularity and it is becoming more professional and lucrative every year, so there are plenty of opportunities to follow in their footsteps. However, it is called competitive gaming for a reason and it takes a great deal of hard work and determination to become a successful pro gamer. Here are the steps you must follow if you harbour aspirations of making a living by playing video games:

Focus on one title

Esports is a broad terms that covers dozens of different games, spread across a few key genres. There are multiplayer online battle arena titles such as Dota 2 and League of Legends, first-person shooters such as CS:GO and Overwatch, battle royale games including Fortnite and PUBG,real-time strategy games like StarCraft II, plus sports games like FIFA and NBA 2K and fighting games such as Street Fighter. Digital card games like Hearthstone and Magic The Gathering Arena are also popular.

There is no way you can master all of those genres, and spreading yourself too thin is a sure fire route to failure. If you want to become a pro gamer, you need a singular focus. Choose the genre that appeals most to you and best suits your skills, and then choose the game within it that offers the best prospects for long-term financial reward. Dota 2 is the richest esport right now, while LoL and CS:GO are both enduringly popular and lucrative.

Epic Games is ploughing all sorts of cash into Fortnite in a bid to join the party, while games like FIFA are never going away. Pick a title and don’t be distracted by other releases. If you choose a first-person shooter and it fades in popularity, your skills might be easily transferred to another game, but sticking within a genre would be advisable. If you look at the esports betting tips, you will see highly rated players that have dedicated themselves to one title and made a great living out of it.

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Invest in the best tech

You can give yourself the best possible chance of cracking the pro gaming scene by investing in the best gear available at the time. Lewis Hamilton is a sensational driver, but he is a multiple Formula 1 champion because Mercedes has the best car. He would have no chance of winning Grands Prix if he was in the Haas or the Sauber car, and the same is true of competitive gaming. Some esports titles simply require a console, particularly sports or fighting games, but the biggest and most lucrative esports – CS:GO, Dota 2 and LoL – are played on gaming PCs.

If you can afford to invest in something like a Corsair One i160 you will give yourself a massive headstart, as it boasts Nvidia Turing graphics and Intel Coffee Lake Refresh processors. A cheaper alternative would be the Alienware Aurora R7 or the Intel Hades Canyon NUC, but make sure you buy a dedicated gaming PC.

You can then fine-tune it as you go, supplying your own RAM, storage and so on, while you can update and tweak it as necessary. High frame rates and refresh rates are key to competitive gaming, so you cannot afford to cut costs when choosing a CPU.

Gaming PCs are typically superior to consoles because the keyboard and mouse allow for greater control and accuracy. A Razer Huntsman Elite is a great choice of keyboard, while again Alienware offers a strong, cheaper alternative with its Pro Gaming AW768. The SteelSeries Rival 170 is an excellent choice of gaming mouse, and its Sensei 310 offers great quality at a lower cost. You can also invest in a leading headset, while even your choice of chair can make a big difference, so do your research and choose wisely.

Practice makes perfect

The world’s leading gamers train for several hours each day in order to hone their craft. Games that succeed as esports titles typically have an extremely high skill ceiling and they require a great deal of practice in order to master them. It is just like learning to become a virtuoso with the violin or turning yourself from a golfing enthusiast into a professional: you need to graft.

Some days you might not feel like playing, but your rivals are hard at work and you cannot afford to be left behind. You might feel like it is sucking the joy out of gaming, but you cannot slack if you want to succeed. That is why it is so important to pick a title you love in the first place. Esports stars must also stay physically fit and agile in order to succeed, as it places a great deal of rigour on your mind and body, so be sure to work out several times a week.

Engage with the community

There are now 400 million dedicated esports enthusiasts across the globe and they hero-worship the very best players. Social media streams, YouTube channels and online forums are constantly abuzz with chatter from competitive gaming fans, and it is easy to immerse yourself in this wonderful world. You can find tips on how to thrive, build up a fan base and eventually convert that into commercial success by getting sponsored and signing up with a big team.

Esports is great fun, but at the end of the day it is a business like any other, and often the most popular players become richer than the most talented ones. You cannot neglect the community, as esports would be nothing without its legions of fans, so make an early start, chat to people and learn what makes them tick.

Take risks

Leaving a stable job in a bid to make it as a pro gamer can be an extremely daunting prospect, particularly if you have multiple financial obligations and dependents. But you never succeed at anything unless you take risks, and it is difficult to become a successful gamer if you are only part time, so eventually you will have to make the bold decision to take the plunge. It is risky, but the rewards could be enormous, as prize purses are soaring, fan bases are growing, salaries are increasing and the number of big companies sponsoring tournaments continues to rise.