Videogaming is a common activity for many people around the world. It is so popular, people can play games competitively and professionally in what is called esports.
Gian Harris, a Weber State junior, got into esports recently. Harris played FIFA, which is a soccer videogame with many professional teams and leagues around the world. He played FIFA for a while but started to heavily play it in 2019 while he was a sophomore.
Harris said he got back into it because he would get bored while in college.
“I was, like, in my dorm playing it a lot,” Harris said.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020. Harris ended up going home. He was not sure what to do, so he started to do tournaments. Harris said he played in about three tournaments. Harris then got an invite to join an esports team in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team was called Game Day.
Harris said about two months later, another team, called Kings Hammer, signed him to a professional contract.
“I signed my first pro contract probably like seven months later, I want to say, after I originally started playing it again,” Harris said.
Harris said Kings Hammer paid him about $32 to $48 per hour. He had to live-stream for them. Harris said that some nights he would get a few hundred views.
In February, he got an invite to play in UGL World, which is an esports league led by NFL players like Marshawn Lynch, Chad Johnson and Maxx Crosby. UGL stands for Ultimate Gaming League, which includes games such as FIFA, Call of Duty, NBA2K, and Madden.
Players needed to qualify beforehand. In qualification, Harris said he came in fourth.
Next, there is a draft. He got drafted to Da Fam Gaming, which was Lynch’s team.
Harris said there were practices, and he had to be careful with what he said on TV.
Harris played FIFA Ultimate Team, which is where you create your own team with existing professional soccer players.
Harris played in that league for about three months.
“We were the favorites to win the tournament,” Harris said. “But something happened with our Call of Duty team, and like I didn’t play well either, so we came in third.”
Crosby’s team won the tournament.
At a point through this esports experience, he was playing every day for about eight to 10 hours.
Harris began to grow a following, and there was a point where he would casually be playing games and get multiple friend requests. There was a point where he got so many that he needed to turn off his notifications. Harris experienced the esports world and met new people along the way.