For many people, shooting aliens, playing virtual golf or driving cars on their PC is strictly recreation, but for a select few, computer gaming offers rewards of a more tangible kind. As the sector has grown, professional gamers have emerged and now an Irish team wants a piece of the action.
Dublin-based Richard Smith formed Team Reverence with two gaming colleagues last November, aiming to compete at a professional or semi-pro level in international tournaments.
Smith had been involved in computer gaming in Ireland for many years, playing and organizing competitions. In 2006 and 2007, he ran the Irish heats of the World Cyber Games with the Digital Hub Development Agency. The team is divided into two five-man groups, one playing Call of Duty 4 and one for Counterstrike, along with three substitutes and a backroom staff of four people.
There is money to be made by successful gamers. The world’s leading professional gamer is estimated to have won over $500,000, although the income for middle-ranking gamers is a more accurate reflection of earnings. Some players on the Danish team MYM are paid annual salaries of €62,000, plus prizes and endorsements. Irishman Mark Kenny, who won a professional contract last year in the Championship Gaming Series, was paid $30,000. Most of the money offered is in specific tournaments rather than online play. I34 in the UK has prize funds of £12,000 sterling each for COD4 and Counterstrike. The pot depends on the scale of the event and can range from between €1,000 and €5,000, up to €30,000. Having seen the standard of gamers elsewhere, Smith is optimistic that Team Reverence will be highly competitve on the professional circuit.
Source: Irish Independent