Australia’s top professional gamer has made millions by turning his love of gaming into a career similar to that of a professional athlete.
Presentation on news.com.au podcast I have news for youJames Giesen has described his rise to become one of Australia’s top three professional players by playing in international tournaments with millions of dollars in prize money.
Specializing in Player Unknown Battleground (PUBG) games, Mr. Giesen has spent the last few years competing as part of an elite team of gamers called Soniq in the esports arena.
A Career in Esports Brings in a MillionWith
And just like any real sport, PUBG games have both local and global tournaments for players to compete and win big.
“We have two majors and two minors a year,” Giesen explained.
“And then, depending on how you perform in them, you’ll be invited to the PUBG World Championship.”
Despite the pandemic, PUBG tournaments took place in which Team Soniq competed in the 2021 World Championship for a $7 million prize pool.
When they won, four contestants, including Mr. Giesen, took home $1.3 million each.
“This will probably go down in the books as the greatest moment of my life,” he said.
The remainder of the prize pool was split between their “coach” and a 20 percent share given to the host organization.
Mr. Giesen has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars by participating in esports tournaments, spending every weekday practicing for hours with his team, developing his speed, agility and reaction time.
And while he has managed to earn and keep more income than most people in traditional jobs, his passion for gaming makes his full-time career the extra hours he spends streaming his gaming sessions to an active and paying audience on the popular streaming platform Twitch. .
“It’s just like you can tune in to watch TV, these people will tune in to watch me play a game and there’s a little chat box so they can talk to me and I can answer them,” he explained. .
“My typical day, I try to start streaming between 12 and 2 and it’s just a fun game and the viewers are watching me – that’s a big part of my income.”
Broadcasting as TGLTN, Mr. Geisen has amassed over 2,500 subscribers, each paying a monthly fee of $5 to support and enjoy unique perks on the platform. In addition to the income generated from subscriptions, fans who tune in also leave “tips”, also called “donations”, which can range from a couple of cents to hundreds and even thousands of dollars.
Pathological gambling in Australian children
But for many parents, their children’s obsession with games can spell the beginning of a nightmare that sees their children become clinically addicted.
Brad Marshall, psychologist and director of the Screen and Gaming Disorders Clinic, said that according to the latest statistics, around 100-250,000 children – or 3 percent of all Australian children – have a diagnosable “playing disorder”.
“Essentially, this is a game and screen usage pattern that is becoming quite negative for life,” Mr. Marshall said. I have news for you.
“So it affects their relationship, their job, their school or whatever, and has a pattern where it becomes more and more obvious that they have withdrawal symptoms, whether it’s physical aggression or emotional symptoms.”
For the 3% of people living with a gaming disorder, it’s more than just excessive gaming.
“Those in the 1-3 percent are going to see quite a bit of overuse of opt-out points quite often, so not going to school, you know, for six months, a year, two years,” he said.
“Also physical aggression, sometimes to the point where the police have to intervene, and other problems, including physical health problems (for example) sleep problems.”
But Mr Giesen described how a “healthy” and “balanced” love of online gaming has helped him build a career that has earned him millions.
He revealed how he was introduced to gaming at a young age through his father’s love of the hobby.
“My dad has always been into the internet and PC — he used to be in the internet business and was a bit of a gamer himself,” Giesen said.
“And when my dad would come home from work, he would fire up the game, and every time he found a tank in that game, he would just let me shoot him.”
But while his father was supportive of his choice of competitive gaming, Mr Giesen said that studying and socializing outside of gaming was a top priority.
“My dad was always kind of like gaming as a hobby, maybe you could do some odd jobs like being a drone pilot or something with a similar skill set.”
Mr Giesen said that, especially in Australia, developing a career as a professional player while maintaining academic ambition is possible if done right.
All or nothing – and mostly not so glamorous
But making big money in games is a dream that many children around the world aspire to, devoting hundreds of hours to games.
But Mr Giesen said his success in turning his love of gaming into a lucrative career is basically an exception to what is a risky industry today.
Before he started making thousands, Mr. Giesen said that humble beginnings—low-quality hardware but meeting lifelong friends—helped him get through tough gaming endeavors to support himself.
“It’s a little celebration or famine — I made over $400,000 streaming by the time I was 21 — but in the first 1,000 hours I streamed, I made less than $1 an hour,” he said.
“It’s like you don’t do anything until you’re up to speed – and then that’s it… (but) I don’t think it’s worth, for example, sacrificing your life or anything to become a gamer.”
And for parents anxiously considering whether to support their child’s ambitions to become a professional player or lead them to a more stable future, Mr. Giesen said it’s not up to him to decide for them.
“It’s hard for me to give advice on this because I want people who are passionate about games to do them,” he added.
“But at the same time, they need to understand that it is risky and there are many who are not surviving and I see this every day.”
Originally published as Feast or Famine: Australian progamer wins millions