The recession has hit professional gaming leagues hard, according to a New York Times article that documents the rise and apparent fall of playing videogames for a living.
“Going into this, I busted my heart out,” Emmanuel Rodriguez, a 23-year-old gamer told The New York Times. “It felt like I put in all this energy to build something big. I felt like everything I built up was gone.”
Rodriguez, better known by his pro-Dead or Alive moniker Master, works at a Sam’s Club in Dallas. Only a couple years ago, he was making a living as a professional gamer in the Championship Gaming Series, and was even named the MVP of North American DoA players. But that was before the economic took a nasty turn and CGS, which had the backing of major media outlet DirecTV, closed up shop.
That’s the story for most other pro gaming leagues, according to the Times. Sponsorships are hard to come by these days, and along with the CGS, last year the Cyberathlete Professional League, which played host to professional competition in PC first-person shooters, ceased operations after 11 years.
The only game in town, it seems, is Major League Gaming, which runs console game competitions for titles like Halo 3 and Gears of War. “We have driven everybody else out of the business,” MLG president Matthew Bromberg said. “The history of league sports begins with one league.” According to Bromberg, MLG has not lost any of its sponsors and will actually turn its first profit this year.
Rodriguez, however, isn’t quite ready to say “gg no re” to his dream. He’s decided to ditch Dead or Alive and take up Street Fighter IV, which sounds like a plan. “I still believe in gaming,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I just gave it up.”