5 ways to break into esports other than playing

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aabicus shoutcasting Forzebreak esports

If you’re reading this site, you’re probably into esports. You may have entertained the notion of going professional one day. Of sitting down, practicing your favorite game day after day, and grinding your way to the upper echelons of the playerbase. Of course, that’s not very easy, and not everybody’s cut out to be a pro. Me, I’ve been playing Overwatch since season 1 and have never broken Platinum SR.

But never fear, it’s not the only way to break into esports! Just like traditional sports, esports are a spectacle. There’s so much more to entertaining spectators beyond the players on the field, and many of the peripheral jobs are so specialized they’re far easier to break into. This article is dedicated to high-profile esports jobs you can fulfill even if (like me) you don’t have the matchmaking rank to (and conveniently, these are also all jobs you can fulfill remotely with just a computer and internet connection).

These positions are all heavily portfolio-based; it’s unlikely you’ll find anyone to hire you right off the bat. I spent years streaming / shoutcasting / organizing tournaments for free before anyone paid me to do so. But as esports slowly becomes a household term, there’s still time for a newcomer to jump in and corner this developing market!

Position 1: Shoutcaster

I highly recommend anybody interested in esports consider becoming a shoutcaster. You’ll learn public speaking skills, you’ll make a huge impression on audiences, and you’ll spend hours watching high-level players and learning strats that can improve your own gameplay. If somebody else is handling streaming, the only equipment you need is a decent-quality mic and a pop filter.

Most big tournaments will hire two casters per game. The play-by-play caster describes the events currently happening on the field. The color caster comments on strategy, insight, and whether he thinks the teams are making the right calls. Both styles of casting appeal to different people, so it’s usually okay to specialize in one or the other. I’m a play-by-play caster myself.

Like most esports casters, I got my start at Broadcast.gg, and I highly encourage you check them out to find a co-caster and start casting scrims. If you’re a streamer, shoutcasting can also do wonders for your channel’s traffic. Any tournaments you cast for will do the advertising for you, and viewers will come to your channel to watch their favorite teams play. Speaking of streaming…

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Position 2: Tournament streamer

In many cases, the shoutcaster and the streamer will be the same person. But esports tournaments with higher production quality will split the jobs between multiple people. Streamers require high-powered computers and wired internet connections (optionally, a second monitor is extremely helpful as well).

Your job will be to prepare your stream for the tournament and control the camera during the actual matches. You’ll want to install Open Broadcasting Software for sure. It’s the industry standard due to having so many great features, like stream delay and overlays. Overlays will take a bit of getting used to, but they massively increase the production quality of your stream.

Once you’ve set your stream up, your day-to-day job will involve handling the spectator camera during matches. This isn’t as easy as it sounds; you’ll want to pay close attention to the HUD to see which player is most likely to do something awesome in the next few seconds. If the game has ultimates, like League of Legends or Overwatch, you’ll want to know which classes have the most exciting ults and ensure you’re spectating them before they’re fired off.

Overall, esports streaming is a bit more technical than shoutcasting, but it’s an equally important role for a successful tournament. Just like the last position, Broadcast.gg is the classic starting point for a beginning streamer who wants to practice by streaming competitive scrims.

Position 3: Recorder

Are you worried you might not be charismatic enough for shoutcasting? Is your computer not good enough for streaming? No worries, there’s a middle-ground position that’s even easier!

The recorder is a “just in case” position that high-quality esports tournaments keep on hand. As their name suggests, they record the tournament in-game with the spectator camera, just like the streamer. This way, if the stream dies or anything goes wrong on the streamer’s end, the tournament will still have a VOD to upload to their YouTube channel.

Requiring only a stable internet connection and video-recording software, Recording is probably the easiest position to break into on this list. However, it’s very low-profile (the audience never interacts with you and the streamer’s footage will always take precedence if everything goes smoothly), and many tournaments will simply not bother to have Recorders.

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Position 4: Match host/Observer

Paused Overwatch game

Screenshot taken from League Zero match Bot Burgers vs One-Trick Wonders

Match hosts hold more of an administrative position. They’re responsible for setting up the server and gathering teams into the lobby for the upcoming match. During the match, they handle pauses, map changes, and substitutions. Match hosting is a great way to break into tournament organization and a highly-sought after skillset in the esports industry. I see new positions for professional observers every day.

Position 5: Journalist

No sports league is complete without press! If you feel more comfortable writing than videography, websites like Daily Esports are constantly hiring journalists to discuss the esports industry, the biggest leagues, and the people changing the future. Writing articles gives you the freedom to explore any specific element or topic you want. Plus, you’ll learn valuable skills about search engine optimization and marketable content creation. If you interview professionals, you can also form valuable contacts that can lead to future gigs!

Alternately, if you feel more comfortable with videography than writing, plenty of YouTube channels are looking for video content as well! Any esports tournaments streamed on Twitch provide you access to high-quality footage you can download using Twitch’s Clips feature.

There are so many opportunities in esports these days, so pick what you want to do and start your journey! Like I said at the beginning, you’ll probably need to do volunteer work for at least a while to begin your portfolio and prove you’ve got the chops. Back when starting out, my first articles were published for free on The Daily SPUF news site, and my first shoutcasts and streams were for the League Zero Overwatch tournaments. Both of those are highly-recommended places for learning the basic skills with production teams happy to help you out.

Best of luck! No matter what position you work for, esports is a long road but a rewarding experience!


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