Casual or Competitive: When to Stay, When to Push

Competitive gaming has been on a meteoric rise. 

That popularity brings legions of eager gamers wanting to test their mettle and get fame, glory, and prize money on an international stage.

For most, this never really takes off. For many more, they never try, instead enjoying the life of the casual gamer. 

Where do you fall? 

What Defines Casual and Competitive

It has been argued around the Internet and in friend circles around the world: what sets casual gaming apart from competitive gaming?

While you could probably spend another few articles debating on the nuances, for now we will cover the basics. There is a huge spectrum here that will be left open but today, we are discussing the extreme sides.

Casual gaming is gaming done purely for the fun and entertainment, nothing else. You may want to get better, but there is no dedicated practice. You may play against people, but there is no prizes or ranking to be done. Gaming for the sake of gaming.

Competitive, then, is gaming with a purpose towards not only bettering your performance but also gaming with the goal towards winning competitions.

These definitions are not set in stone. They are simply to focus the discussion. 

Being Good vs. Being Competitive

I would bet almost any gamer has felt that surge. That feeling that you have gotten really goodat whatever game you are playing. You are in the zone, your hours have paid off, you are unstoppable!

Then some random newcomer mashes buttons and lucks themselves into victory over you. 

For a moment there, you might have thought, “Hey, maybe I am good enough for this e-sports stuff!”. And as soon as you lose, that thought is gone. 

The problem is, before you tossed the idea out the window, you were one (small) step towards being on the road to e-sports competition. 

Competition is not about being good, that will come along with time. Competitive gaming, as shown above, is about bettering yourself and that means practice. You don’t get to competitive gaming by just being good. You get there with discipline, lots of practice, and learning every in and out of your game of choice. 

Everyone will get good with enough hours, that just happens when you put that much time into a game. Getting competitive is a mindset you need to find and build.

The Moment of Drive

That moment you found yourself in, where you had that glimmer of “What if” in your head. That is what I like the call The Moment of Drive. It isn’t just for gaming. It can be for anything.

It is the moment you decide whether to turn a hobby into a career or let it stay a hobby. Stay casual and simple, or push to be competitive and challenging. 

What defines this Moment is how far you want to push yourself. Are you ready to take that drive and make it a routine in your life, a constant push to be better and do better? Do you have the level of passion that really drives you forward?

That’s a pretty big question you will need to ask yourself.

Living the Lifestyle

If you take that choice and choose the e-sports lifestyle, what does that really mean? 

From the outside, the competitive lifestyle seems really cool. Getting paid to play video games all day? Win trophies and have your name known by gamers around the world? It all sounds fantastic.

Anyone who has done even a bit of research starts to see how rough it can be. 

To get to that level of competition, you need practice, and lots of it. You need to put in countless hours each day. You will have intense goals to hit, and you cannot let up. This is your job now and you need to keep up with it. Burnout can be very real.

You will also likely need a business plan. Do you try and join a team? Who sponsors you? What events do you go to? How do you afford traveling and tournament entry? Do you stream? How do you advertise and manage that?

A thousand questions come up and it can be debilitating.  

But when that Moment of Drive happens, and you truly feel that push and passion for going from casual to competitive, you will find the energy and the way to keep up with it all. 

Or you stay casual. 

Keeping the Hobbies 

Now with all of this said and done, I am not demeaning casual gamers or chasing away competitive gamers. There is nothing wrong with either, but they may not be suited for everyone.

When it comes down to it, the two extremes of this spectrum are rarely justone or the other. We all, as gamers, have those competitive streaks where we want to get better and we all have those nights where we want nothing more than to laugh with friends.

Being one should never exclude the other completely. There is good in the fun of the casual gamer, there is good in the pride of the competitive gamer. The competitive gamer of seasons past could be the casual gamer today, and vice versa. 

You always need to remember why you do what you do. Why you love gaming. Why you find video games so enjoyable. Why, no matter if you are casual or competitive, you are a gamer. 

Remember that, and you will know where you fall. 

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