Bucharest Minor exists in new era of esports
One of the universal truths of life is that time and tide wait for no man and the world changes faster than you can imagine. One day, you’re in the in-group, confident your opinions are backed by hard fact and, not two decades later, you turn around and suddenly you’re a dinosaur, out of date, unable to understand the world, and just four or five million years away from becoming fossil fuels, the ultimate indignity.
Esports is a fantastic place to illustrate that, as the depth of the expansion we’ve experienced is really starting to kick in now. While the massive events are still grabbing headlines, the Bucharest Minor taking place this week is extremely impressive, with a $300,000 prize pool, but sadly the news has left some people behind and they make assumptions based on ignorance of the facts.
That’s what happened today, when one unfortunate user expressed that he just could not understand why people "waste" so many hours on computer games. In a world where we are sure he would find it perfectly normal to practise a musical instrument, for example, or a sport for that amount of time, apparently, the idea that somebody might show that same commitment and devotion to a game was confusing.
Fortunately, there are a few folk on Twitter who are there to help and inform, and this time it was our own Redeye who stepped in to help the poor chap with his misconception, by providing the helpful chart you can see above. With Paul on his way to host the Minor in Bucharest, which, of course, all feeds into the same system as The International, it’s no surprise that he disagrees with the "wasted time" comment, as does reality these days.
Times have changed
For years, it was true that to be a professional gamer was not an easy life and working in the peripheries of the industry was even harder. The likes of Richard Lewis spent years sleeping on sofas and working other jobs to keep the dream alive, and today some of those folk have been rewarded, but all that has changed, for players even more than writers.
I've never regretted leaving a soul-destroying job for something I was so passionate about
When Sujoy Roy left his career on Wall Street to pursue a career as a professional Quake player, we were many years away from the first TI, let alone the first $20m TI. Today, he’s Director of Esports at Luckbox, having had a long and successful career in gaming and esports, but the journey wasn’t simple, even for a man with the best education you could hope for.
“My decision to quit my job at JP Morgan and become a full-time gamer was met with surprise from some people, and it ran as a novelty story in the mainstream media for a while,” said Sujoy, who was educated at Cambridge and set for a lucrative career. “That was 20 years ago, and I've never regretted leaving a soul-destroying job for something I was so passionate about. While my career as a pro gamer didn't last forever, what I learnt about games, esports and the communities that are built around both have set me on a dream career path.”
It’s not just the pursuit of happiness that today’s pros can enjoy, but also a newer, wider range of opportunities, making the risks far less than they once were. “Compared to when I started as a pro gamer, there are so many more options today,” Sujoy told us. “The prize money has grown to levels that surpass most regular sports so while there's more competition to be the best, there's also much more opportunity in a much wider range of games."
Just as with regular sport too, it doesn’t end when your playing career over, as the likes of HenryG, Merlini and many others have shown, as Sujoy stresses. “For those who retire from pro gaming, you can build a healthy career from live streaming and YouTube. People with strong social media channels are valuable because they have a huge audience of young people that are normally so hard to reach.”
In fact, to bring things full circle, we have a rather nice way to illustrate just how out of touch you need to be to think of gaming as wasted time in 2019. Redeye is currently out in Bucharest as host of the Minor, which you can find on our match page, an event that feeds into the Chongqing Major, which is itself a level below TI. So, tier three in absolute terms, and in terms of the teams there, not exactly a tier one tournament.
For winning the event, one team will take home $125,000. Never mind the millions TI winners enjoy, or even the tens of thousands participants are getting these days, just for the minor one group of players will take home 1/8th of $1m. Without meaning to sound envious, we all certainly would love to have minor jobs paying out at that level, and the fact the event exists in this form just illustrates how far esports has come, and how strong it is today.