I love eSports and I want to work for Google

Gamers at PAX East 2010

Can an individual love eSports and maintain success outside of gaming?

Earlier this week Chris Schetter put up two excellent blog posts about what I like to consider an overall view or approach to this crazy industry we call Electronic Sports/Professional/Competitive Gaming. You can read them here and here. Before venturing any further, I recommend you read them very carefully and try to do so without forming incorrect assumptions as the points Chris is making can be lost if you are just looking at what he wrote as a pure flame fest instead of an intelligent discussion.

Moving on, among Chris’s excellent discussions remains a question I and probably many other people have been struggling with – can you bake your cake and eat it too? That is, can an individual love eSports, dedicate significant amounts of time to it, and still achieve success/their goals in the “real world” outside gaming? I don’t have a simple answer to that question, but what I do have is my own experiences so let’s start there.

Ever since I was about 13 years old or so I’ve only wanted two things in life: 1) To be involved in the eSports industry and 2) Work for Google. Seems like an odd set of goals yes? Well at that point in my life I had drank the eSports Cool Aid and nothing you could do or say was going to deter me. But alongside my love of eSports, I also really wanted to work for Google. Why? Because the brightest people worked for Google and if I was going to get a “real” job I wanted to work for the best.

Since reading Chris’s most recent posts and kind of reflecting on a few things I’ve come to two interesting conclusions: 1) I no longer have any interest in working in the competitive Call of Duty scene as it is no longer fun for me, and 2) My goals as a 22 year old graduate student are still the same goals I made for myself when I was 13.  For the purposes of this discussion, let’s focus on the second conclusion.

Googleplex

Can an eSports enthusiast end up at a place like Google?

Though these goals have remained the same, my approach to them has changed significantly since I was 13 years old. I still love eSports. I love the games, the drama, and above all else, the competition. I also recognize the need to maintain a real world job and while my reasoning for wanting to work for Google 9 years ago was somewhat elementary it still is the core reasoning behind my desire to work for Google today – I am User Experience Designer and Google has the best User Experience department in the industry.

Chris is right in his statement eSports is not worth ruining all other areas of your life. Despite applying for an internship at Google since my sophomore year and never even getting close to landing the job, I still view my achievements outside gaming as successes. I’ve gotten the chance to work one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, NBC Universal, and I’ll be graduating from a highly regarded university with both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. I do highly doubt one could play games professionally and maintain this balance, but in my case, I’ve found my work producing eSports media content to be extremely rewarding and a way to keep connected with this great hobby.

As a 22 year old graduate student nearing the end of my college career next year, however, I do believe eSports is too much a part of who I am as a person to deny completely.  To quote Hollywood, “…it’s what you do that defines you.”  Although I still want to work for Google, if you told me I could trade away everything I have experienced in the eSports industry to do so, I probably would not do it. Crazy as that may seem, eSports has given me opportunities I would not have previously had such as the ability to meet new people as well as travel.

So can you bake your cake and eat it too? I still don’t know completely. If I’ve learned anything in my 9 years of involvement in eSports it’s that success is not determined by skill, practice time, money, or any other arbitrary element. Passion is the single greatest fuel for success. If you enjoy what you do you will find success. It’s that simple. I can’t answer this question for anyone save myself, but I do like to think I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve tasted the chocolate. My name is Ted Ottey. I love eSports and I want to work for Google. What about you?