Nowadays, ‘professional gamer’ has become more widely recognized as a career, especially among young teenagers. Just 20 years ago, the term pro gamer had a rather negative nuance and was rarely taken seriously. However, as the cultural influence of video games has skyrocketed, the reputation of pro gamers also improved.
The environment has changed as well. The first generation of pro gamers, who are now close to their 40s, were certainly not living luxurious lives; the early pro gaming scene was not the most lucrative and received little respect from the general public. Not every early pro gamer had a harsh life, but it is was not unusual for them to struggle to make ends meet and keep themselves fed.
However, things have changed. Gamers are chosen and fostered under systematic human resource management. After they are made part of a team, their salary and welfare as a professional player are guaranteed. Naturally, their career becomes an object of envy for the younger generations, whom acknowledge video games and gaming competitions as mainstream entertainment.
On the other hand, the life of a pro gamer is not always fun and glorious. When overlooked by fans, the pressure to perform well is immense, but as they gain more attention it becomes more difficult to show weakness; they have to hide their problems in order to keep their image intact. The more they are overlooked, the more they have to hide their unspoken pains. A lot of pro gamers have proclaimed that “It is not an easy job”. Even if they seem to have reached the peak in life, the path to get there is not easy, and neither is the path to sustain it.
There is a lot that goes into becoming a pro gamer. Despite what many people think, simply being good at games is not enough to become a professional gamer. Some might have it in their genes or some might have made it with sheer effort. No matter the case, only those who are truly exceptional can debut and become pros.
Following their debut, there is massive competition, which eventually leads to stress. They devote a good portion of their life to being a pro gamer. They might not experience life on a college campus; some who become pro gamers in their teens even miss their high school life. In order to become professional gamers, they often sacrifice a good portion of their youth.
On the first of May, The IGEC: Esports Deep Dive introduces two former professional LoL players. In their presentation “The good, the bad and the ugly: Life as a League of Legends pro”, they will share their stories; from how they became pros to their eventual retirement, and all the unspoken personal struggles in between.
Sang-myun “Shy” Park was a top laner for CJ Entus and ROX Tigers. He has accomplished some remarkable achievements as a pro, such as winning the LCK and ranking second in Worlds. He started his career in 2012 and was named captain of CJ Frost in 2013. In December 2017, he announced his retirement.
Before the advent of ‘Faker’, Min-ki “MadLife” Hong gained huge popularity by proving that Supports are also capable of carrying a game. He elevated the LoL scene to a whole different level. MadLife played well throughout his career in the LCK and the LoL Invitational. In 2017, he became part of an NA 2nd division team, GCU. Within the span of 6 years, he’s won a total of 7 league trophies.
The now ‘former’ players will explain exactly what kind of profession a ‘pro gamer’ is, and about the difficulties compared to other careers. Additionally, they will talk about what they’ve had to sacrifice in order to fulfill their lifelong dreams. Shy and Madlife’s lecture will be a great chance for those who want to indirectly experience what is like to be a professional gamer.
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