Professional gaming in South Africa is not easily achievable. It is a seriously long road to reach the goal and your vision of success. Obviously, you need to enjoy it, but, it takes more than skill and guts. Getting there is slow; it takes time, dedication, and a mammoth amount of patience. Only the hardest working gamers reach a professional level and get to the top.
We are witnessing South Africa catching up with the world with fibre internet and with that pro gaming might very well become a truly viable career option. And, with that said, it is important to remember that there will be those infuriating moments where you ask yourself why you are doing this. The key is to keep on and never give up.
The very first step is to choose your game. Best pick the game you are most passionate about and at which you are the most skilled. You need to learn as much as possible about the game you have chosen. The games you play for fun rather than for the purpose of profession should contribute to your skill. You should be able to play your choice of game on an international level. Smaller, unknown, indie games, and games which will be redundant within 12 months should not be an option or you will cap your earning potential and reach your limit.
Keep in mind there is no such thing as a shortcut. If you think you happen upon finding said shortcut, remember that quick returns are often not substantial or sustainable. You need to be prepared to make each second count and take the steps you need to without cutting corners. Only by putting in the work will you rise to a pro level.
The question is how do you actually get sponsorships? Start by approaching a respected, recognised, and accredited sports agent specialising in gaming. When the money offers and sponsorships start coming in you will have contractual obligations with regards to guest appearances and the number of competitions or championships you need to play, not to mention that you will be required to finish in a position. Ensure you meet these expectations. Keeping your reputation up along with your skill is vital to your success.
You will face critics from bloggers and journalists to family and friends. No matter what happens… you need to keep yourself motivated and focused. Remember one word and keep it in your mind; practice, practice, practice. Nothing must come between you and your practice time. Nothing... including your friends, a night out, a social commitment, your birthday, it really doesn't matter, practice comes first. Take the time to put together a schedule and set goals for improving your game skill, reaction speed, game knowledge, and learn from watching others play the game.
Join a club close to where you live so that you can practice with peers. Do not choose a club that offers only equipment and freebies. Hardware and gifting doesn't pay the bills. Find a club that offers a salary and meets the legal requirements to do so. It is important to remember that it is a career move and that the point is to get a cash offer on the table. In order to get in you need to be good enough and to stay on the team you will need to earn it. A club or team that does not pay members a salary is simply not a professional team.