Want a job in esports? Here are 4 careers you might not have considered

Want a job in esports? Here are 4 careers you might not have considered

July 22 2021

As the old saying goes, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Most of us have probably dreamed of working in video games or esports at some point, but not everyone can be a professional esports player or a caster. So what other jobs are out there?

Observer

What’s the job?

An esports observer’s job is to watch a match (mostly live but sometimes in replay) and capture the best and most exciting footage for the viewers, figuring out what needs to be on the screen right now and spotting moments for highlight reels and replays. 

Think of it like a camera operator for a soccer match, except in a virtual space. On the plus side: being a disembodied camera means you can float above the action, capturing unforgettable cinematic moments. On the downside: players might be spread out over a play area of 64km² (in the case of a game like PUBG) which is *does math* about 8963 soccer pitches. And instead of 22 people following 1 ball, you’ve got 100 people, any of whom might shoot each other, find a vehicle, or take an area, or do any one of a thousand interesting things at any point. 

As if that wasn’t enough, it may not just be the camera work that you need to take care of. Depending on the production team you’re working with, you might also operate as a vision mixer: handling picture-in-picture, showing replays and leaderboards, and so on.

What skills do you need?

Concentration. Different games and events will require you to keep track of different things, but in any case, you’ll need to have your head 100% in the game while also keeping track of what the casters are saying so that you can show the relevant footage.

Speaking of having your head in the game, you really need to know the game; not just how it works but everything about it: the maps, the weapons, the meta, the players and how they play in different circumstances, recent team transfers, etc. You’ll need to remember and use all of that knowledge to predict what’s going to happen next and what will make for a good show. 

To get some more insights, we spoke to a professional who gave us some of her top tips for being a great observer.

  • Always listen to the casters. Firstly, they might give you tips on what to follow. Secondly, if they’re talking about something and you don’t have footage, you’ll make things a lot harder to understand. 

  • Don't switch the view constantly. While it’s tempting to try and capture everything that’s going on, you’ll just overload the viewers. You need to give people time to understand what’s happening on screen.

  • Don’t just follow where the action is. Creating an interesting broadcast is about telling stories, so you need to think about the bigger picture. If one player is about to be cornered by an opponent, where are their teammates? Have they taken a strategic position somewhere, or are they trapped in a tricky situation of their own? Is it an elaborate trap to force the enemy out into the open?  

How do I get started?

Study hard. Firstly, you need to watch a lot of broadcasts in your chosen game to figure out how the stories are told and what people want to see. Secondly, you need to know the game and the scene like the back of your hand and be constantly up-to-date. Thirdly, each game will have its own tech for observing, so you’ll need to research the tools and learn to use them. 

Esports Psychologist

What’s the job?

Like any other competitive, high-pressure career, esports can take its toll on mental health. After all, professional esports players often find themselves having to make tough, split-second decisions in front of thousands of people, and a wrong choice can put a swift end to months of work. Esports psychology isn’t just about helping players through the most challenging moments, though; it’s also about building good strategies for teamwork and communication, helping players improve their attentional focus, and working with individual and team goal setting, among many other things. 

CS:GO fans will remember that Astralis used to have a reputation for choking in the late stages of tournaments. Working with their esports psychologist Mia Stellberg turned the team around, helping them overcome their weaknesses and build upon their strengths as a team and as individuals.

What skills do I need? 

Good communication skills are obviously a must for this kind of role, particularly being able to listen and question in a sensitive way and explain ideas clearly. Additionally, you’ll need to be able to deal with emotionally demanding situations and have strong research skills. Depending on your clients, you may be required to travel internationally and work with difficult and unpredictable schedules. 

How do I get started?

It’s essential to have the right qualifications to build a career in esports psychology. After all, you will be dealing with people’s health, wellbeing, and potentially their success. Indeed, many companies hiring sports psychologists require you to have at least a Master’s degree in the subject. 

Luckily, several universities offer Sports Psychology degrees of one kind or another. For example, Roehampton University in the UK provides a BSc in Sports Psychology and several esports scholarships. In the USA, it’s most common to do an undergraduate degree in Psychology before specializing in Sports Psychology for your graduate degree. Rider University in New Jersey offers an MA in Athletic Leadership, which includes Applied Sport Psychology, Clinical Sport Psychology, and Assessment in Sport Psychology, and an internship.

Esports Agent

What’s the job?

Most people know that actors have agents, but it might come as a surprise to learn that athletes and professional esports players need them too. 

The overall job of an esports agent is to represent the interests of the player. This often involves dealing with contracts to ensure that their client is receiving fair compensation, that the terms of work are acceptable, and that their image and reputation are protected, as well as promoting relevant organizations, and representing the client if there is a dispute. 

An agent isn’t necessarily a single person, typically they work as part of a larger agency. Some agencies offer additional services such as personal assistants, booking of travel and accommodation, and securing commercial opportunities such as advertising and public appearances. Agencies that specialize in esports often have influencers, content creators, casters, and other talent on their books as well as players. 

What skills do I need?

Negotiation will be a big part of your role as an agent. It will be important to have a firm understanding of contract and employment law, and how this can vary from country to country. You’ll also need to have a good network of contacts in order to secure the best deals and opportunities for your client, so having great social skills is a must. 

There is room for creativity when working as an agent. For example, coming up with ideas for sponsorships and deals to pitch to partners, or figuring out bonuses and extras to make contracts more appealing to both parties. 

You’ll also need a strong and up-to-date understanding of the esports scene. This is important, not just for understanding the worth of your current client but because you’ll want to keep your eyes open for upcoming talent that would be a good asset to your agency. You could even be the one to discover the next big esports star!

How do I get started?

While it’s not strictly necessary, a degree in law would be very beneficial if you want to succeed as an esports agent. Alternatively, you could study marketing, talent management, or public relations. 

Actually finding a job is going to require a lot of networking ability (which seems appropriate) as they tend to be few and far between and aren’t often advertised on job sites. Start by building yourself a professional and attractive LinkedIn profile and following any agencies you’re interested in. You should also attend networking events, tournaments, and try to build connections with people in the industry. Some agencies offer internships or summer programs to students, so keep your eyes open for opportunities. 

Academic/Researcher

What’s the job?

Imagine dedicating years of your life to just studying the art, science, and business of esports? If you’re a lifelong nerd like me, that probably sounds like a dream come true. Great news, that dream is a complete reality! 

More and more universities are recognizing esports as a valid and interesting topic of study and research, which means there is a growing number of esports degrees available. This in turn means more research is being done and more academic literature created. As it's a young and still growing topic, your research could be the absolute cutting-edge science of the industry. Cool, huh?

What skills do I need?

This will depend on what topic and type of research you aim to pursue but, in general, you’ll need good research skills and you’ll need to write well academically. Most academics also teach or give lectures and you’ll likely have to deal with a certain amount of departmental politics and planning. Researchers may instead work for private companies (which often comes with a higher salary) but may still need to give presentations and attend conferences. 

One thing you’ll definitely need is the ability to self-motivate. If you plan on doing a degree, postgraduate degree, and a Ph.D., you’re looking at probably 10+ years of studying.  

How do I get started?

The obvious answer is to start by taking a degree in esports. The University of Chichester in England offers an undergraduate degree in Esports as well as one in Esports and Sports Media. These programs are part of their Games, Audio and VFX department which means you might be able to study both esports and game design. If you’re looking for a well-rounded course, check out the one at Staffordshire University which includes everything from Competitive Gaming Culture, to Casting and Hosting, to Esports Analytics. In the USA, esports programs are largely built around esports management—such as the ones at New Haven College in Connecticut and Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virgina—but several colleges are rumored to have dedicated programs in the pipeline. 

Of course, you don’t need a specific degree in esports to be in esports academia. Psychology, medicine, mathematics, computer science, even philosophy are just some of the fields that overlap with esports research. The important thing will be to find a department that has a strong background in—or is open to—this kind of study. You can also look for organizations that have received research funding for esports, such as The Weavr Consortium, and see if they have opportunities available. 

Of course, this is just a tiny selection of the jobs available in the vast and varied esports world. If you have an interesting esports career, we’d love to talk to you about it. Get in touch with us on Twitter

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Catt

Catt / CopyCatt
UX Copywriter.

Human Ranger/Bard. Horror enthusiast. Story-driven. I like games where you can harvest plants.

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