Doing well competitively is all well and good, but as we said before, gaming and esports aren't just about money, trophies, and sponsorships - it's about passion and people too. Moving on, we'll take a closer look at some of these other gaming "pioneers", who've put a completely different spin on what it means to be one, and made their own little place in the world from it.
Does the name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg ring any bells? No? That's fine. But I bet the metaphorical lightbulb would shine if I were to mention the moniker "PewDiePie".
Arguably one of the few gaming icons more prominent than his competitive counterparts, it's safe to say Swedish gamer PewDiePie doesn't make as much money from his gaming proficiency as he does from his personality. Now, if you've never watched or even come across one of his streams or YouTube videos, I'm a little concerned as to what cave you might have stumbled out of. I mean, in 2016, he was even named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, and that's merely one of his various achievements - how do you miss something like that?
So, what makes him the icon that he is? Simply put, it's his immense personal "gravity" that has headlined his success as a streamer/gamer. Kind of like how the opposite poles of a magnet attract each other, people don't really have to try and connect with him - it just happens. He packs a very potent cocktail of wit, profanity and passion in his content that just draws viewers in. And the method? Just playing what he likes - which mostly includes horror games and Minecraft.
Whether the trick is in his non-stop profanity-spewing, or just the heartwarming feeling of seeing someone who's really having fun (from being scared half to death, or otherwise), people enjoy his stuff because it's above all, genuine.
Currently, he's on a hiatus that started on 15 January this year and has yet to announce when he'll be back. But outside of his gaming achievements, Pewdiepie is also rather famous for how he scored his long-time girlfriend, and as of 2019, his wife - Marzia Bisognin. Essentially, the latter also started off as a YouTuber, doing make-up tutorials and beauty tips, but were introduced to each other through a mutual friend in 2011. And judging from how that's turned out, it seems Kjellberg's mouse wasn't the only thing that's clicked for him.
To provide a comparison, Jeremy "Disguised Toast" Wang probably is to Hearthstone what fellow gamer Markiplier is to the Five Nights at Freddy's community. Toast started out on YouTube showcasing amusing card interactions in Hearthstone while donning a toast-shaped mask (with shades), but revealed his real face by mistake during a livestream in October 2016. Amusingly, unlike other streamers who might have panicked at the wardrobe malfunction of sorts, Toast simply shrugged it off with a laugh and ditched the mask from then on.
Known for his tactical skill and sharp wit, Toast's streams blend his signature brand of snarky humor with logical thinking and explanations, making his content easy to understand yet amusing for both beginner and veteran players alike. He does dabble a little in competitive tournaments too and has taken part in various invitationals for games like Apex Legends, Teamfight Tactics, and Legends of Runeterra.
Although he's best known for his Hearthstone content, by late 2019, Toast, along with many other Hearthstone players had become greatly disillusioned by the game's "powercreep", and moved on to cover other titles for the most part. However, he still commands a very large, loyal and ever-increasing following online. So, while Toast hasn't had the most amazing run in competitive gaming, he's made it pretty big as a gaming personality, and that's impressive no matter how you slice the toast, in this case.
At the end of the day, whether it's a streamer, developer or competitive gaming icon that has inspired you to pick up, or continue using your joysticks, keyboard, or whatever, it all goes right back to the same reason: we all love gaming, and we're proud of it. In this world, there really are a lot of things money can't buy, and a passion for gaming, well - that's one of them.
Honestly, at this point, if it gets any cheesier and more "inspirational", we'll probably have to start writing self-help books. So, let's get right back to gaming, shall we? Those ranks aren't going to climb themselves.