By James Dominic Flores
We’ve all heard the stories of our favorite esports players on their road to success; from the rise of Blacklist international’s Jonmar "OhMyV33NUS" Villaluna in the Philippines’ Mobile Legends: Bang Bang stream, Carlo “Kuku” Palad’s Filipino Huskar and TNC’s huge Dota 2 upset over OG, or maybe even Playbook Esports’ Alexandre "AK" Laverez and Andreij “Doujin” Albar; Philippine Tekken’s two young prodigies.
As accessible esports is today, much like any professional sport, the top 1% of tournament players who can consistently survive with that being their main source of income. That being said, what job opportunities are there for the average esports fan who isn’t particularly skilled at the game yet passionate for the scene?
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David “Arc” Sison, head of League operations for Gariath Concepts, a Philippine esports organization responsible for major Filipino esports events like ESGS, The Nationals, and Rev Major, shares his insights on the various career paths in the esports industry.
Esports jobs, minus the gaming
For those with the gift of words and love to entertain people, streaming, hosting and shoutcasting (commentary) stands out the most. Remember “Lakad Matatag?” the battle cry of Dota 2 players all over the world is a prime example of the talented Filipino commentators coupled with passion for the game.
"There is a cultural importance to games having human faces and voices associated to them. As Filipinos, we have a rich history in idolizing entertainers, and shoutcasters and streamers are no different in this regard," Arc said.
Tournament broadcasting has also gone a long way from the 240p video camera footage of its early days. Production quality has risen dramatically such that esports tournaments are often times on par with major sporting events.
Esports as well has been a pioneer in live online broadcasting and streaming of these events and as such, stream managers and digital production personnel can find a career in the esports industry.
In line with this, events management experts can also find jobs in the esports fields by making sure that live events such as conventions and tournaments run smoothly and create positive experiences for attendees.
"Fans will always remember a good production, and will come back looking for more. Gone are the days where simply having overlays and a few scenes were enough. The more killer local productions are starting to incorporate Augmented Reality technology and green screen to enhance the viewing experience," Arc said.
On the backend of every major esports tournament are the people who work tirelessly making sure that tournaments run smoothly and are standardized regulations are enforced and followed.
"Most backend esports work are thankless jobs, but it continues to remain a viable career for those who consider it. This is where work ethic and personal esports knowledge will come into play for those interested,” added Arc.
League Operations which includes tournament marshaling is an accessible and trainable job that can allow someone to breakthrough the esports scene in a meaningful manner.
Another route on the road to an esports career is through marketing management. Marketing courses along with other business-related courses are a common choice for college students in the Philippines.
Esports could be your next career
As esports continues to expand more into mainstream culture, talented professionals who are equipped to push the scene further into our everyday lives through the creation of partnerships which can also lead to sponsorships of players, personalities, teams, or even tournaments.
The esports business is multidisciplinary in nature, offering numerous career opportunities for many disciplines. Arc emphasizes that professional players are not the only viable career in esports.
Many careers in esports that don't necessarily require a deep immersion in the communities, since much like any career, organizations look for professionalism, job competency and having a willingness to learn about the field (in this case, the esports ecosystem).
If you handle yourself well in the field and play your cards right, perhaps you can land a job in these fields and remember that to some degree, kaka-kompyuter mo yan.
About the author: James Dominic Flores is Program Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences at San Sebastian College, specializing in psychology. He is also a competitive gamer specializing in fighting games.