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Other Can i become a Call of Duty pro pro player and still study physics?

  1. Mar 12, 2017 #1
    So im at the last year of high school, i'm going to study physics at the university and i am pretty good at it (i'm going to partecipate at the national part of the physics olimpiads) but I'm getting really into the gaming life and i'd like to become a call of duty pro player and maybe open a you tube channel, or try to get into the mlg thing, can i do it? It is possible to be both succesful studiyng physics at the university and being a gamer? How to do it? I like both physics and videogames should i keep videogames as a hobby? Should i try doing it?

    Both activities require lot of time of practice and dedication, do you think it is possible to handle both?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 12, 2017 #2


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    Hard to say with any reasonable certainty. But it's certainly not impossible, if you can muster sufficient determination and discipline. And who knows, maybe you'll even like the challenge physics poses !
    There's plenty examples of folks who did some sport at olympic level and combined it with an academic degree.
  4. Mar 12, 2017 #3
    Maybe my story will grant you some advice? Im a gamer and an engineer with the 'hobby' of having a 5yr involved relationship. Sorry it is a bit long lol, but i think this will give you a perspective on what it could be like:
    During high school I was better than most MLG players at Halo (3 and Reach) and Call of Duty (MW2 and up) to the point where I would get 1.75 to 2.0 k/ds in MLG games. Public matches on the other hand were absolutely destroyed by me lol. I would get nukes in MW2 every 5ish games, it was great! Im saying this because I needed barely any practice at all or time spent trying to get good gameplay

    Now when it came to physics I was also awesome at it in high school, getting 95's and 100's on exams in high school physics and up to calculus based college physics 1 and also 2 with barely any study at the university of michigan - flint. (a satellite campus of a very prestigious college).

    So I was very smart, which is very important for being good at videogames. Quick and probabilistic thinking is essential in being good at video games as you know.

    But then I transferred to the actual university of michigan campus to study engineering, Im in my 2nd semester now and it is miserably hard. I feel dumber than I ever felt and my test scores are only average now. There is no possible way I could keep up a youtube channel with school now, despite being very good at games and having the advantage of getting good footage more often than most. Im doing homework like every hour in order to go home and spend the whole weekends with my fiancee. We still play video games but not nearly as much as we used to because we are busy with school, and we pretty much dont have fridays, saturdays, and sundays to do what we would be doing if we didn't have eachother. If you stay out of a serious relationship, then you will have 3 more days of the week than i do!

    So I would say this: I think it will depend where you go to school at. As long as it isn't a super prestigious school, you should 100% definitely do it both and you probably wont have much struggle!! If you are planning on maybe going to a prestigious school, try to not get pinned down with after-school clubs or with a serious relationship like I am in, and you can probably still manage to do it! It just might end up being hard at times but thats okay. Maybe you're smarter than I am too which would give you even more of an advantage! But the WORST that could happen is that your youtube channel gets in the way of your grades and you need to stop. But more than likely, what will happen is you would only have to take a break from your channel for like a week when exams come by :)
    Youll be totally fine!! I encourage you to do it!!!
  5. Mar 12, 2017 #4
    Wow *.* thank you a lot
  6. Mar 12, 2017 #5
    Being an actual top gamer/athlete is actually 100x harder than being a physics, unless you are somehow endowed with incredible talent.
  7. Mar 12, 2017 #6
    Yeah, i do agree with Asteropaeus, very very few make it to world championships and such. However most of the championship players do another activity as well. Players who constantly and ONLY game tend restrict their minds. Your mind must remain flexible and adaptive by doing and learning different things. This helps you adjust your playstyle to match-specific opponents. So id say even championships are still possible with studying physics, but is inherently near-impossible and you really shouldn't hold your breath for. But for making a youtube channel with skilled, cool, or funny gameplay, you sill be good. Besides, every college student has a hobby of some sort!
  8. Mar 13, 2017 #7
    While a pretty old example, physicist Neil's Bohr played football , his brother Harald Bohr, known for his work in mathematical analysis and who founded the field of almost periodic functions - played football for Denmark winning a silver medal in the olympics.
  9. Mar 13, 2017 #8
    Maybe, but expect it to be very hard.

    Time usage is a zero sum game. Every minute trying to become and be good at being a pro player is one minute less studying physics.

    I was never nearly good enough at physics (and the math needed to do physics) to even dream of enough practice time to be a pro at anything else. Physics (and the math I needed) was a 60 hour per week job for me in college.
  10. Mar 13, 2017 #9


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    Don't agree. In two ways. Growing up isn't working towards monomania and there is something like effectiveness of time spent (the age-old mens sana in corpore sano).
  11. Mar 13, 2017 #10
    Don't misread what I wrote as advocating monomania. It's more a matter of my personal experience as a student and then as an educator. Certainly I am a big fan of students being well rounded. But the question posed related to how hard it is to become a professional player and also study physics, presumably with enough effort to one day transition to making a living in physics.

    I had hobbies and recreational pursuits as a student. I was a guitar player in a band practicing lots and playing local gigs in campus bars. Also had time for dating and a few sports. But I was always keenly aware that there would never be enough time develop my musical or any other talents to the professional level and succeed in physics.

    I've seen the same thing in a number of collegiate musicians and athletes - the time commitment of practice to have a realistic hope at being a professional athlete or musician is a death knell to realistic aspirations to success in any STEM degree.

    Time is a zero sum game - there are only so many hours in each week to devote to practice and studying. Most mere mortals will need to make a choice between professional aspirations in music, sport, or (presumably) gaming if they hope to simultaneously succeed in a STEM major - unless they are good enough to go pro in their chosen activity on much less practice time than most.
  12. Mar 13, 2017 #11
    To be honest if i would try to do this (going pro) i would focus only on both physics and call of duty, i would not take other activities, i'm not a sporty person, or someone that is always out with friends. I can dedicate all my time on this... so is all the time i got enough?
    I waw inspired by this because i heard at a conference at school that alan turing was also a olimpic runner or something like that and albert einstein was also a talented musician, so since i love videogames since i was a child, and physics too, i tought that this was the path i should take, to follow my passions and be satisfied, I don't know how this could end, my fear was to take to much time from physics, (so not having enough time to do both) but i think i should give it i try, after all even now at high school I'm basically just studying physics and playing
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
  13. Mar 13, 2017 #12
    Set a GPA target. The first semester you drop below your GPA target, put your gaming dream on the back burner.
  14. Mar 13, 2017 #13
    That is certainly very true. I have more than 1000 hours in DOTA 2 but studying is a lot harder than playing a game. I am confindent that I can play DOTA 2 with full consiousness at 3 in night but can you do that with physics ? I certainly can't.

    Bottomline is that studying requires real effort with little pleasure and lot of pain in thinking which is mostly opposite of gaming.
  15. Mar 13, 2017 #14


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    Without knowing you personally, it's really hard to say whether you could be successful in both the study of physics and in gaming.
    If I had to bet, though, I'd bet against success in both areas.

    Obviously, though, you can't spend all of your waking hours studying physics, but I would recommend doing something physical, such as going to the gym, running, bicycling, or other activity of that nature. Shutting the physics book and then going to the computer doesn't get your body the exercise it needs to carry your brain around.
    Seems like good advice to me.
    Also good advice, IMO.
  16. Mar 13, 2017 #15

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    The fraction of gamers who become full time pros seems to be somewhere between 10^-6 and 10^-7. That means, to six decimal places, your odds are the same whether or not you study physics.
  17. Mar 13, 2017 #16


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    Not to throw a wrench into your works, but this doesn't sound all that healthy to me.

    Even if you're not sporty, you still need to get physical exercise. Both physics and video games tend to be rather sedentary activities.

    Even if you're not extroverted, you still need face-to-face social interaction. And of course just about any plan like this can go off the rails once a sweetheart walks into your life.

    Not that I know much about the industry, but it's unlikely you're going to make money by playing video games. From what I understand, the tournaments with the big cash prizes are great, but what happens if you don't win? Most people solve this issue with a combination of part-time and summer jobs. The less astute ignore it completely and take on more debt than they need to.
  18. Mar 14, 2017 #17


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    I actually work in the gaming industry on the engineering and data science sides and regularly interface with professional gamers (defined here as people who play on major eSports teams and get payed for playing on the big stage). Some of the numbers here vary by title and the maturity of the eSports scene, but from chatting with the, it usually involves the following:
    1. To be competitive at that level, most people generally need to spend something like 8-12 hours per day, weekends included, on the game in some way.
    2. Compensation can vary pretty wildly. Most farm/feeder organizations do not pay very much at all. One of my friends in QA used to be a LoL player on TSM Darkness and was contracted for ~10k per year. If you get lucky and get picked up by a major org in the US, then there is a good chance you will be contracted for something like 50k per year. Which is not half-bad, but also consider there have been a number of high-profile scandals over the years of people not paying out.
    3. Careers tend to be relatively short-lived. Some games are better than others, but assuming you can make it at the professional level, then odds are you are looking at only 1-2 years of relevance. Injury is also quite common and ends careers (along with making life generally difficult).
    If you are thinking about becoming a streamer or YouTuber instead, the picture changes a little bit. Becoming popular is usually less about raw skill at the game and more about being a personality. If you make it big, then money is super good (like six figures or more per year), but that also happens extremely rarely. I think most of people still have to work day jobs and stream or make YouTube videos on the side.

    Anyway being a professional gamer is generally a difficult and not super glamorous career. My advice is to focus on your studies and keep playing video games as a hobby. With a degree in physics, if you learn how to program, you will always have the option of working for gaming companies as an engineer, analyst, data scientist, etc. Pays better, is more stable and most companies will let or encourage you to play games at work.
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