Professional gaming league launches in Canada
Published Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:13AM EDT
Video games are usually equated with leisure, but the announcement of a new league may mean some enthusiasts could also consider it as a career.
On Tuesday, Major League Gaming is announcing the creation of Canada's first professional video game league.
The creation of the league means that Canadian video gamers will not be forced to turn professional in the United States.
"It's fantastic," professional video game player Nelson Triana told CTV's Canada AM. "I mean now I don't have to travel south of the border to compete against the best. I can just stay at home and compete against everybody else in Canada.
"Another reason that it's good is because you have people from Canada, they're not allowed to travel to the States -- we're talking about a younger generation of players here. Their parents wouldn't allow them."
Triana, of Ottawa, is one of Canada's top professional gamers. He is ranked number one in Canada and number two in the world for the game Halo. He is ranked fifth overall in major league gaming.
While Triana is not currently a full-time gamer, many top gamers devote most of their free time to playing games and reap significant financial rewards.
"They have agents. They're making a quarter of a million dollars," Triana said. "They're contracted. They've got sponsorship money and winnings. They're winning tons of money as well."
The opportunities for being a professional video gamer are especially strong in Asia. Several television stations regularly broadcast gaming tournaments and players are revered and treated as stars.
To maintain a competitive edge, Triana, who wrestled and ran track in high school, has to train rigorously himself, although he has curtailed his training to two or three hours a day, when it previously took ten hours out of his day.
"The best way to train right now is online," Triana said. "We'll have my team of four, we'll all get congregate online together and we'll schedule a practice against another team of four across the country."
Despite the fact he has curtailed his training habits, Triana admits that he still has "gamer hands."
"It comes with the territory, I guess," Triana said.
The inaugural Canadian event will take place in November and the top prize could be around $50,000.