For many amateur gamers, going pro would be a dream come true. For Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, it’s something he plans on avoiding.
The popular sharpshooter dedicated an entire day to Overwatch in a recent stream. He was quick to shake the rust and play well enough to pass as a natural.
Observing his potential for mastery, viewers asked Shroud whether he would consider making an Overwatch League career out of it.
Seemingly annoyed by how often he hears the inquiry, he put his definitive thoughts out there once and for all.
“Dude, that is always the question. Whenever I play a new game, they’re like ‘Hey, could you see yourself going pro?’ No. Absolutely not,“ Shroud said. “I could never see myself going pro again in anything?”
This statement might sound odd to the uninitiated, but it makes total sense when you consider Shroud’s circumstances. He makes way more money and lives a far less stressful life just being awesome at shooters and sharing his content with his fans.
Pro gaming may seem fun, but that’s not everyone’s reality. Serious players endure all-day training sessions, a rigorous travel schedule, and salaries that don’t always match the level of commitment required. Stories of burnout have come from even top-level competitors, and reports of mental health deterioration have forced the industry to take a serious look at player wellbeing.
It’s not inconceivable that some players enjoy being an esports pro, but given the chance to trade places with Shroud, it’s likely that many wouldn’t think twice about it.
Stories like the one surrounding Ninjas in Pyjamas don’t help matters. Former players have accused the organization of immoral business practices and attempts to control their personal lives, and NiP is not alone in receiving such accusations.
These periodic flashes of the scene’s more disturbing issues serve as a deterrent for those aspiring to reach the next level. It’s a slippery slope that, left unaddressed, could permanently damage the esports industry’s reputation and impede its brisk progress toward the mainstream.