Many of us spent our teen years dreaming of someday turning our talent for video games into a viable career, and right now many mainstream news outlets are reporting on the development of pro gamers doing just that. Understandably, coverage has been somewhat sensationalized by a significant focus on a handful of multimillion-dollar tournaments. In reality, the road to a viable income has been a long and hard one for professional players, and tournament prize pools represent just one facet of the pro gaming value chain.
The business of being a pro gamer is, in actuality, a highly diversified one. This is partially a result of the fact that, for the vast majority of its history, eSports has been a true labour of love for its participants. In order to survive, teams and players have had to be both creative and aggressive with how they earn a living.
This article will take a deep dive into the different revenue streams available to pro gamers, from player salaries to in-game markets, with a focus on those revenue streams that are unique to eSports.