Australian pro gamer earns millions in esports competition

Australia’s top professional gamer has made millions turning his love for the game into a career similar to becoming a professional athlete.

Speaking on the news.com.au podcast I have news for youJames Giezen has described his rise to becoming one of Australia’s top three professional players – playing in international tournaments worth millions of dollars.

Specializing in Player Unknown Battleground (PUBG) games, Mr. Giezen has spent the past few years competing on an elite team of gamers called Soniq in esports.

An esports career that pays millionss

And like any real sport, PUBG Gaming offers local and global tournaments for players to compete against each other and win big.

“We have two major tournaments and two minor tournaments a year,” Giezen explained.

“And then, based on your performance, you will be invited to the PUBG World Championship.”

Despite the pandemic, the PUBG tournaments went ahead and saw Team Soniq compete in the 2021 World Championship for a $7 million prize pool.

When they won, the four members, including Mr. Giezen, took home $1.3 million each.

“It probably comes down to the books as the greatest moment of my life,” he said.

The rest of the winnings were split between their “coach” and a 20% discount given to the host organization.

Mr. Giezen has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars competing in esports tournaments by spending every weekday training for hours with his team, developing his speed, agility and reaction time.

And while he has managed to earn and save more income than most people working in traditional jobs, what makes his dedication to the game a career in its own right is the overtime he puts in. broadcast its gaming sessions to active, paying audiences on the popular streaming platform Twitch. .

“It’s the same way you could log in to watch TV, these people will log in to watch me play the game and there’s a little chat box so they can talk to me, I can reply to them” , he explained.

“My general day, I try to start streaming between noon and two and it’s just that I play for fun and have an audience watching – that’s most of my income.”

Streaming as TGLTN, Mr. Geizen has amassed more than 2,500 subscribers who each pay a monthly fee of $5 to support and enjoy unique benefits on the platform. In addition to revenue generated from subscriptions, fans who tune in also leave “tips” also known as “donations” which can range from pennies to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Pathological gambling addiction in Australian children

But for many parents, their children’s obsession with gambling can be the start of a nightmare that sends their children into a spiral of clinical addiction.

According to recent statistics, Brad Marshall is a psychologist and director of the Screens and Gaming Disorder Clinic, around 100-250,000 children – or 3% of all Australian children – have a diagnosable ‘gaming disorder’.

“Essentially, it’s a pattern of using games and screens, which becomes quite negative in life,” Marshall said. I have news for you.

“So it’s impacting their relationships, their work, their school, or whatever, and has a pattern where it’s becoming more and more apparent that they have withdrawal symptoms, whether it’s physical assault or emotional symptoms.”

For the 3% who live with a gaming disorder, it’s not just about playing games excessively.

“Those in that 1-3% will quite often see quite an excessive use of school refusal points, so not going to school for six months, a year, two years,” he said.

“Also physical assault, sometimes to the point where the police have to be involved – and other issues including physical health issues (like) difficulty sleeping.”

But Mr Giezen described how a “healthy” and “balanced” love for online gaming helped him develop a career that has seen him earn millions.

He revealed how he was introduced to gambling at a young age through his father’s love of the hobby.

“My dad was always passionate about the internet and PCs – he ran an internet business and was a bit of a gamer himself,” Giezen said.

“And when my dad came home from work, he would start playing, and whenever he found a tank in that game, he would just let me shoot it.”

But while his father was supportive of his choice to play games competitively, Mr Giezen said studying at university and having a social life outside of gaming was a top priority.

“My dad was always kind of like, you know, gaming as a hobby, maybe you could do some work around that, like, maybe you could be a drone pilot or something that has similar skills.

Mr Giezen said that especially in Australia, developing a pro-gaming career while maintaining academic ambitions was doable if done correctly.

It’s all or nothing – and especially not as glamorous

But winning big in the game is the dream that many young people around the world aspire to achieve, sparking hundreds of hours spent in the game.

But Mr Giezen said his success in turning his love for gambling into a profitable career is mostly the exception to what is by far a risky industry.

Before he started earning thousands of dollars, Mr Giezen said his humble beginnings – shoddy gear but meeting lifelong friends – helped him survive the game’s rocky early days to support himself. .

“It’s a little feast or famine – for me streaming I made over $400,000 streaming at age 21 – but in the first 1000 hours I streamed I made less than $1 an hour,” he said.

“It’s like you don’t gain anything until you gain traction – and then that’s it… (but) I don’t think it’s worth, like, sacrificing your life or whatever thing to become a player.”

And for parents looking forward to supporting their child’s ambitions of becoming a pro-gamer or guiding them into a more stable future, Mr Giezen said it’s not up to him to decide for them.

“It’s hard for me to give advice on this because I want video game enthusiasts to pursue it,” he added.

“But at the same time they have to understand that it’s risky and there are a lot of people who don’t make it and I see that every day.”

Sara R. Cicero