The Glamorous Life of a Pro Gamer


(bells chiming) Just imagine living in this 15 million dollar home. You’re paid a steady salary, supported by a whole team of staff whose sole purpose is to get
you to play at your best. Alright fellas, let’s go. And if you don’t perform, you’re cut from the team. Here we go, round three, round three. Keep it going, no breaks. If you think this sounds like the life of a pro athlete, you’d be right, kind of. Stop your bitchin’. It’s the life of the sports player of the future, lived
by the lucky few today. (fun electronic music) As technology replaces old jobs, it’s also creating new ones. I’m Aki Ito, and I’m here to show you the jobs of the future. (fun, upbeat music) My name is Michael Schmale,
I’m a professional gamer. (guns firing) For someone who’s uneducated
in the e-sports scene and doesn’t understand how it works, the way I would describe
it is, it’s kind of similar to a professional athlete. It’s a lot of preparation,
hard work, and team effort. I think one guy’s above me. Nah, trust me, he’s not. Ghost Gaming pays players like Mike to compete in video game battles. And yes, that is a real job now. (guns firing) More people watch video
games than Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, and HBO put together. And e-sports is already a
billion dollar industry. (upbeat, energetic music) That’s how Ghost can
afford to shower players with all kinds of perks,
like this team house. It’s a ten bed, 16 bath
mansion overlooking Hollywood. And it houses 10 players at a time, all in their late teens and early 20s. So when most people just take a quick look at the house we’re living in,
it’s a bunch of teenagers, and it’s a lot of us, so you would think it’s rowdy, we’re just reckless, but we’re professional e-sports players. (loud alarm ringing) Here’s the day of a professional gamer. (fun, playful music) I wake up nine, 9:30, breakfast. Chest up, chest up, let’s go. 11 a.m., we have workouts. That lasts for an hour
to an hour and a half. There you go Mike, push it straight into the ground. Eight, nine and ten. After we do that, we hit the film session, and we watch film on other teams to see what they do. Just taking his time, make
sure you guys take your time, you don’t need to be fancy with it, just need to make sure to hit the shots you need to hit. Oh man, after lunch, we
play from 1:30 to 7:30. (upbeat, energetic music) (guns firing) One’s gonna be, ladder,
ladder, ladder, problem. Bomb is really one shot. Oh my god, push that, one got pushed up. And that’s just a long grind of playing against other talented teams. (gasping) Good job. We play from lunch to dinner. We have a wild lobster with chive butter. I put it on Twitter. (playful, fun music) How you doin’, Mike? It’s amazing. (slow, entrancing guitars) Mike’s been playing video
games since he was five, but when his parents got divorced, that’s when he really
buckled down on gaming. I would just get in my
desk, turn my game on. It’s like I would disappear and go into another world
and forget about all that. When he was 13, Mike
qualified in the pro-league of the popular video game, Call of Duty. He became the youngest
professional player in the game. When I first walked into the event, I was just amazed and
just fell in love with it. That’s when I knew this
is what I wanted to do. (slow, entrancing guitars) That conversation with his parents, telling them he was pursuing a career as a professional video gamer, well, imagine your kid telling you that. There was a lot of
arguments and late nights. But Mike promised to put school first, and his parents eventually came around. Well, as a single parent, it wasn’t easy. In my mind, I really couldn’t
foresee it as a career, but we were at the mall
and some young boy came up to Mike and he said, “Excuse
me, are you SpaceLy?” And Mike said, “Yeah,” he goes,
“Can I have your autograph?” And I started to cry, and
I’m like, “This is crazy.” I’m like, “He recognized you, Mike?” And that was instrumental for me, as well, realizing how this has taken off. I started earning money
at these tournaments after my third local event. That was like one of
the best feelings ever, being able to go home and
like, “Look, Mom, look, Dad. “Today I got paid for playing.” I wasn’t just wasting my time, and I wasn’t just making
up stories and fairytales just so I could play video games more. Mike didn’t wanna discuss his contract, but when he joined Ghost,
it was reported that he and his teammates shared a
50,000 dollar signing bonus and were each offered a
4,000 dollar months’ salary. On top of all that, Mike
also earns money on the side. Fans pay to watch him play on
the popular streaming site, Twitch, and he also sells
his own line of apparel. (fun, victorious music) That all makes for a pretty
good living by the standards of any 20 year old, but it’s even better when you consider that
almost all of his expenses, from his rent to his food to his training to his gaming related
travel, is all paid for, which leaves a lot of room for shopping. Can I take them off? Sure. Alright, we got the Yeezys, moon rocks. I’ve been a fan of shoes
forever, so there’s a lot of times where I spend an insane amount of money on shoes. (chill pop music) But like professional
sports, gaming is not a life long career, and
there’s a ton of turnover too. Three months after I met
Mike, Ghost dropped him from the team, and he’s now
back home in New Jersey. This sounds very tragic
and could nearly end a player’s career, but this is a very common thing in the scene. And players get released and
switched around all the time. My advice to young gamers that
wanna play professionally, you gotta stay patient,
you gotta stay dedicated and understand that it’s
gonna take sacrifice because there’s always
another person out there trying to take that spot. But I don’t have any plans
to give up the gaming career. I’m gonna bounce back from this and make my mom and dad proud. (chill pop music) (mysterious synths)

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