Meet the teens cashing in on video game skills
Meet the kids making a fortune from video games
een video game fans say they are being tempted to shun university in favour of a career as professional players, competing for high winnings and earnings as coaches.
7DAYS spoke to a number of gamers who are making thousands of dirhams while still in their teens.
Games such as League of Legends, Call of Duty and Counter-Strike are among those played at competitions with big money prizes. By Sarwat Nasir
One gamer said he could earn more than Dhs100,000 from just one tournament.
Bradley Ismail, 15, from Dubai, told 7DAYS he does not intend to go to university and aims to become a professional gamer.
The Canadian pupil (pictured right) said he has already made Dhs83,500 from coaching other gamers who play League of Legends. He takes a share of the winnings of the teams he trains.
Ismail said: “If you want to become a pro-gamer, you’d have to dedicate a lot of your time towards it and that means putting aside college and other things.
“I spend three to four hours gaming and another five to six hours analysing games. I coach teams on the techniques that they would have to use to improve. I talk them through the whole process.
“I’ve made Dhs83,500 in coaching so far but once I go pro, I could be earning a six-figure income.”
Ismail then sits with the teams in intensive sessions and helps them with their technique and teamwork.
He added: “We spend five to six days practising for four to six hours each day, depending on how close the tournament is.
“We discuss strategies, characters we are going to use and what tactics we will use against the other team.”
Ismail’s mum, Janice Adey Ismail, told 7DAYS that she would support her son’s decision to skip university if a “big gaming job opportunity” does find him.
She believes that youngsters in today’s digital age are finding “new routes” to become successful and that they should receive support from their parents.
She also said he has good grades and could always attend university later.
She added: “We do support him. With Brad, I don’t have much concern. He does spend a lot of time gaming, but for a 15 year old he is very mature.”
Another semi-pro gamer, 19-year-old Egyptian expat Marwan Hammed, has earned about Dhs20,000 in the last year from tournaments held in gaming cafes around Dubai. In the past year he has competed in 15 tournaments with his team, which consists of five players. The team have won Dhs100,000, which gets divided equally. Hammed said he too must choose between university and pro-gaming. He said he spends four to six hours gaming daily and up to eight hours training before a tournament. He said: “Keeping a balance between studies and playing games at a professional level can be difficult, especially because it requires you to constantly practise to maintain the highest level of gameplay. “If I saw that there was potential in my field, I would go for it, as it’s a one-time shot and I would pause my academic studies as they can be resumed at any time.” T Organisers behind gaming tournaments have said there is “big prize money” to be won. Maqsood Shahid, who is involved in the organising of Gamers UAE, a competition with a Dhs1 million prize, said: “For winning tournaments, the price money involved is in the millions. The top 10 winners also receive prize money of up to Dhs20,000. “The harder you work and the more practice you have, the easier it is to win the Dhs1 million prize. This is an industry that is on the rise.” One café, Que Club in Oud Mehta, holds four to five mini tournaments each week and a bigger tournament every couple of weeks. A staff member said: “The bigger tournaments give a prize of Dhs8,000 – it could even be a bigger prize depending on who the sponsors are.”
Big money on offer at gaming tournaments
GAME ON: Bradley Ismail (above and below right) plays as well as coaching others