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Professional Australian eSports video game players reveal the ‘grind’ of their careers

Young people have been making headlines all over the world from making millions of dollars from video games.

These players are gaming superstars – their life is playing video games and they reap the rewards with their earnings.

But some professional video game players hoping to make the big time live normal lives outside of being in front a computer for most of their days.

‘It’s definitely good to have a healthy balance of things,’ competitive gamer Andrew Haws told Daily Mail Australia.

But some professional video game players hoping to make the big time live normal lives outside of being in front a computer for most of their days. From left to right: Andrew ‘rqt’ Haws, Adam ‘Adam’ Soong, Sam ‘Quatz’ Dennis, James ‘Yuki’ Stanton, Max ‘Unter’ Unterwurzacher, Jordy ‘Jordation’ Frish, Nicholas ‘Project’ O’Brien, Dale ‘Signed’ Tang

Haws (pictured), 24, known online as 'rqt', is the coach and manager of an Australian esports team called 'ORDER

Haws (pictured), 24, known online as ‘rqt’, is the coach and manager of an Australian esports team called ‘ORDER 

‘Maybe there’s one night a week that we have off to go live our lives.’

Haws, 24, known online as ‘rqt’, is the coach and manager of an Australian esports team called ‘ORDER’.

‘Sometimes it can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when you’re looking at going to the finals and stuff like that,’ he said.

Andrew makes his living off of playing games – he doesn’t reap the big bucks of international players, despite flying overseas to play the video game ‘Overwatch’, he coaches and managers his team part-time on a salary as his way of paying the bills, while he also navigates a university degree.

Haws’ career has taken him overseas, playing for Team Australia in the 2017 Overwatch World Cup, which he reflected on as one of his proudest memories.

‘It basically services as a part time job, and then uni full time for me, so it works out well,’ he said. 

‘I’m doing a secondary education degree, which actually stems from coaching and Overwatch stuff, I think.

‘Uni stuff is more of the day job… I am still focusing on a university degree which is probably where the end of my future will lie, at some point transitioning over to be a full-time teacher once I’ve got the degree.’

And over the weekend, Shaw hopes his hard work will pay off at the ‘Melbourne Esports Open’, Australia’s largest competitive video gaming event where $150,000 is up for grabs for the winner. 

Max Unterwurzacher, 21, a competitive gamer on Haws’ team – known online as ‘Unter’ – said his career is ‘very time consuming’.

‘You need to understand what you’re getting yourself into,’ he said.

Max Unterwurzacher (pictured), 21, a competitive gamer on Shaw's team - known online as 'Unter' - said his career is 'very time consuming'

Max Unterwurzacher (pictured), 21, a competitive gamer on Shaw’s team – known online as ‘Unter’ – said his career is ‘very time consuming’ 

‘I get one, two nights off a week, but because it’s not something that you actively do during the day, you can still balance it pretty easily.

‘You feel a lot of relief and a lot of reward for the effort we put in.’

Unterwurzacher is also a university student, doing a degree of Science and Pharmacology.

‘I do less than part time work, working as an electrician, as a labourer, but that’s basically just to fill in a little bit of extra time. Overwatch is probably the primary source of income, honestly,’ he said. 

‘I guess I’m going to be a pharmacist at the end of this all.’

‘Once I’ve wrapped up my undergraduate study I’m hoping to see if I can find a team overseas where the game is a bit more competitive and you can make a bit more money playing it, so the stakes are a little bit higher.

‘I definitely don’t have all of my eggs in the eSports basket, given that I’m finishing an undergrad in science and that’s probably why I’m going to wind up long term, essentially because I don’t want to have a long-term career in eSports.

The trophy the team will be playing for this year, alongside the $150,000 prize

The trophy the team will be playing for this year, alongside the $150,000 prize

‘I’m just happy to enjoy it while it lasts. You know, I’ve found something that I enjoy and I’m good at that and I’m happy to ride that out until I am no longer good at it or no longer enjoy it.’

Team ORDER will be going up against Team MINDFREAK G on September 1st at the Melbourne Esports Open.

‘I’m from Melbourne, so this is the only event of the whole year that my friends and family can actually come down to watch me in person,’ Unterwurzacher said.

‘For me that’s a bit more meaningful than playing something in Sydney or over in Shanghai, because I can actually have friends and family can come and watch and get around it.

‘That’s the highlight for MEO for me. Knowing that I know people in the crowd that are supporting me.’

Million-dollar payoff: The journey to playing video games as a career

In July a teenager won $3 MILLION from playing Fortnite. Earlier this month, popular streamer ‘Ninja’ signed a $6 MILLION contract to stream on Microsoft’s ‘Mixer’ website, and recently a Melbourne local made $5 MILLION from playing Dota 2.

So how do you make a career out of playing video games? Andrew and Max were more than open to share.

‘It’s about the team sticking together and finding a home, which happens to be ORDER’ says Andrew, discussing that players can group together in Overwatch and play together online, and prove themselves through an online rank.

‘It’s pretty much just sticking with a lot of the same people the whole way through and when people leave or move onto other things you can replace them with other people who have essentially proven themselves through tournament results,’ Max said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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