By Gary "Melon" Tuttle
With burnout becoming a bigger topic in all of esports including Overwatch, I wanted to take a look into a few things regarding burnout and maybe some fixes.
They're too young for you bro.
The need for younger talent is a hot point for me when it comes to professional gaming. Kids wanting to make this their career is great, but if it doesn't work out, most of the time they have no skills outside of this highly competitive career path. No one wants a a 20 year old with no skills outside of clicking on Mercy heads, I mean, I would hire you but I don't think Nationwide insurance will. Potential team members are sometimes scouted from as early as 14 and taken right as they graduate, now while this isn't inherently wrong it could be harmful to the growth of an individual as they aren't accustomed to the work schedule that professional gaming entails. What it does entail is long hours of scrimming and review, followed by press and a very short break. These children have gone from playing this game for fun to having a full time job and immense pressure to perform. That'll jam anyone up, let alone a teenager.
Stressed not Blessed.
Overwatch is still growing as an esport, so while there are a good amount of teams, if they aren't winning, they're in danger of being shutdown. That's a massive amount of pressure to put on a high schooler, this sometimes being their first job. Imagine all your new friends losing their dream job because you were bad in a few games. Tournaments can last weeks or even months with players managing school and jobs in-between if the team doesn't pay them a good enough salary to replace a job.
What Can We Do to Help?
Burnout has affected many games, especially now with the window of error getting smaller and smaller. Players are getting better, so the pressure is massive on players from many games. Recently in Overwatch we've had Taimou from Envyus reporting that spending so much time abroad has taken a toll on him, Apex being a very long tournament if you manage to stay in. So what can organizations do to help players perform to the best of their ability? Firstly, the success of the Overwatch League means that players can have offseasons without fear that they'll be financially ruined. Secondly, having shorter LAN's so that players aren't living in hotels for months at a time. Third, either team housing or better salary for the members helps them be less stressed by not having to worry about too many life things at such a young age.
Gotta Keep Your Cool.
Now while these aren't perfect solutions to every problem relating to burning out in esports, this is a problem that won't go away unless we start to have the conversation. At the end of the day, these are young men and women that are taken in and pushed to their mental limits on almost a daily basis and they need assurance that their careers are at least somewhat safe.
If you wanna pitch in ideas for how to better working conditions in esports, or just wanna talk, hit up your boy on twitter @Shutup_Gary or on Facebook at Gary Tuttle.