A 23-year-old from Vancouver is kind of making us consider a new career in video gaming.
That’s because Kurtis Ling and his team, Evil Geniuses, just won $6.6 million US last weekend in one of the largest video game tournaments in the world, Dota 2′s ‘The International’.
Ling – a UBC dropout – is on the team with five other players, who battle other teams in the multiplayer video game. In their greatest accomplishment to date, they beat 15 other teams at the sold-out tournament, which featured the best players in the world and more than $18 million (USD) in prize money.
While enrolled at university, while other students were busy lifeguarding or slinging beers, Ling’s part-time job involved making cash in e-sports. He then left school to game full-time.
If the idea of playing video games for money comes as a surprise to you, you might want to catch yourself up – competitive gaming has become a thriving global market.
Another game, similar to Dota 2, League of Legends, has a professional league in which teams play and players earn a (surprisingly competitive) salary. Last year during the world finals, more people tuned in than they did to any professional sporting event in North America, save the Superbowl.
Professional gamers can even spend their off-time “streaming” their play to thousands of dedicated followers and the most popular ones bring in well over 6 figures a year, and can even develop celebrity status.
And, while we may not love the prospect of our future children spending hours in front of a screen, it’s safe to say that – so far – it’s worked out for Ling. These days, he even gets stopped on the street by fans.
In the meantime, Ling will spend his time perfecting his skills in his office – his parents’ basement.