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While most 20-year-olds have barely begun their careers, many professional video gamers at this age are nearing retirement. The culmination of acompetitor is so short-lived that players often discard their controllers and stop them until they're in their mid-20s.
The world of esports demands both physically and mentally. Professional players who are barely over ten years burn out faster than athletes. According to Richard Lewis, a journalist who deals with esports, the top rivals play at least six to six days a week.
In global tournaments, players are attracting a huge crowd to watch against each other in Overwatch, Dota 2, and League of Legends, some of the most popular games on the Internet, in an almost [$1
"There is so much money and opportunities to make money," said 25-year-old Yiliang (Peter) Peng legend player known as "Doublelift". "It's like a full-fledged business."
Esports raised more than $ 900 million this year alone, and analysts predict it will exceed that figure by more than 60 percent in 2020. As the game becomes more and more lucrative, stakes increase and pressure on players increases. Players can play pros and switch from parents in their parents' cellars to the crowded arenas at a bewildering speed.
Gambling organizations can reduce stress and expect players to work at a professional level, often in environments they have never encountered before. "You lose sight, that players are human," said Lewis. "They do not see the victims … the real fear for their livelihood because they did not have a good game."
Retired professional player Dennis Fong, 41, said gambling pressure prevents players from pursuing romantic relationships and freeing themselves from gambling. Players are basically told, "You have to play full time now," Fong said. Players are set up to live with fellow players in common homes where they practice all the time.
Some teams have hired psychologists to help players avoid burnout. According to sports psychology consultant Doug Gardner, Director of Gaming Performance at Immortals, he saw players who looked exhausted and "emaciated". "They would come here and keep playing, and then it's like that definition of madness," he said. "Do the same thing over and over again and expect different results."
Players are proud of their long hours. "There's this honor pin in the sports world:" If I loop even more, I'll get better, "Gardner said.
Physical injuries are just as common, especially wrist injuries that can derail careers pinched nerve in the wrist causes pain and numbness.
"Playing too long results in pain at the end of the day," says pro player Indy Halpern to his physiotherapist, noting that "too long" takes eight hours. He also mentioned back pain and a sharp wrist pain on his last visit.
Halpern's fans, a rising star in the world of sport, know him as "Space," his alias during competitions School was hired by Halpern to play Overwatch for Los Angeles Valiant, and Halpern not only earns a salary, but also lives in a rent-free one of his team paid apartment, an advantage to be a professional player.
Celebrity players can earn up to millions of dollars. While the grand prizes are big, players earn an average of $ 60,000. They often receive housing subsidies, but they are expected to practice more or less around the clock. Halpern often appears one or two hours before training his teammates.
Overwatch is no longer just a game, it's a livelihood. "It's a different kind of stress," Halpern said. It's always in the back of your mind, you always have the pressure on your shoulders to perform. "
Below the pro tournament level, there is a growing pipeline of young players developing their skills in school programs. There are over 100 high schools with students from North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) for students. Schools in more than a dozen states plus Canada attend more clubs in California than anywhere else. An increasing number of colleges have added University Esports programs, and some even offer.
"It will be transformative and a way to engage students who are currently lacking in education," said NASEF Commissioner Mark Deppe.
"When I look at Esports, I see it as unexplored territory and there is a risk associated with it," he said, "but then you will also find the reward."