FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – For most, playing video games are a hobby. For Peter Dager, 22, playing video games is a lucrative full-time job.
Dager got into his career nearly five years ago, when he first learned that playing video games could be fun and profitable.
“I thought, that would be awesome if I could not go to school and not have a real job and just play video games for a living,” Dager said, referring to the first time he learned about competitive video game playing.
Dager’s game of choice is called Dota 2, a multi-player online battle arena game.
It took time to for Dager to make it a worthy job. “Before this year, I really didn’t make a serious amount of money,” he added his parents were hesitant at first when he stopped attending IPFW to pursue a career as a gamer. However, they’ve since become fully supportive.
Dager’s job brings him somewhere in the ballpark of $300,000 annually. His income comes from a few sources, the biggest being tournament winnings. He said he and his teammates have each brought in as much as $250,000 so far in 2014.
If he ever hits a losing streak, corporate sponsors still give him an annually salary between $20,000 and $40,000. Dager also makes about $1,000 a month just by having other gamers watch him play through a streaming service. It allows him to interact with his fans, who can ask questions and get a first-hand look at how he plays.
Dager said he is considered an e-sports athlete. His profession requires about eight to ten hours of practice a day, which doesn’t leave much time to play games for fun with friends.
“It’s definitely very draining mentally,” Dager said, but added it’s not nearly physically demanding as traditional sports. “If you really want to be the most successful you have to give 100 percent of your effort.”
The practice has paid off, at least from the financial stand point. The job has also taken him all across the globe. His four-person team has competed in tournaments where they’ve traveled to Sweden, Germany, and parts of the U.S.
Dager has taken a break from his college education. He said he’s a few credit hours shy of becoming a senior. He hopes to enroll back in school sometime to finish his communications degree.
He hasn’t been a competitive player for long, but retirement is on Dager’s mind. He said when he’s done playing he is looking at working in the business side of the video game industry when he retires.
Dager’s profession has gotten him in the New York Times. Click here to read that story.