As much as I’d like to be a professional gamer, a part of me knows how ruthless and stressful it is. The pros dedicate a ton of hours to practicing each day, and even then, they need to win tournaments to really make that hard work worthwhile. One grey area people tend to overlook is a career after professional gaming. The life expectancy of a top player is surprisingly short, so how do they utilise their gaming skills after their heyday? By streaming of course.
According to Kotaku (via Ongamers), ex League of Legends player, Wei “CaoMei” Han-Dong, is now making around $800 000 annually. It’s alright, I will give you time to rub your eyes quickly, because I did the same myself. What he was earning previously is almost laughable in comparison.
Wei “CaoMei” Han-Dong’s mother remembers each time her son’s monthly salary increased: November, 2011, trainee, 3,000 RMB ($491); March 2012, official member, 4,000 RMB ($654); November, same year, the IPL 5 Champions, 7,000 RMB ($1,145); May 2014, 10,000 RMB ($1,636); June, 20,000 RMB ($3,271). Now retired, he streams with an annual salary of five million RMB ($817,863).
His salary was more than decent towards the end of his career. That being said, streaming is far more profitable, as well as a lot less stressful.
During streaming hours, CaoMei can play the game while commentating including joke about himself whenever he loses a game; there is no psychological pressure at all. Every time he streams, he gets at least 100,000 viewers. When talking about the reason why the community favors him, CaoMei said confidently, “It may not be good to say this, but maybe some of the progamers don’t have my looks.” He often gets “I want to have a baby with you” from female fans.
What more could an ex pro gamer ask for? A solid income AND a legion of fan girls… he must be quite chuffed.
It’s obviously not that easy building up such a following. The hard work CaoMei put into his League of Legends career really seems to have paid off, and what’s better, he gets to play the game he loves for even more money in a stress free environment now.