NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Getting paid to play video games is no longer an impossible dream.
Thousands are turning their hobby into a full-time job, including the premier player of the most popular game who recently spent time with CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
Frank ‘Stiff’ Sardoni Jr is a world champion gamer. The 25-year-old New Jersey man won the Madden football championship.
His sanctuary may be in the upstairs bedroom at his parents house, but his hobby is far from a waste of time.
“My parents weren’t thrilled fans of me playing video games in general, but I was like ‘look at what I’m making now’ and they’re like, ‘if you’re making money doing it, and it’s what you love doing, go ahead and do that,” he said.
He’s taken his talents to social media as well.
“Winning the championship was the main source of income. I have a YouTube channel and also a Twitch channel,” he said.
Serious gamers share tips on hundreds of games using Twitch and YouTube to make money.
The average professional streamer makes about $2,000 a month. The best are making $12-15-million a year.
“A lot of people like watching one of two things. Really good games or if it’s entertaining,” he said.
EA Sports, the publisher of Madden plans on awarding $1-million to the top Madden players. Frank has sponsors and even an agent. Professional teams are seeing the lucrative possibilities.
“NFL teams have to look at this and see a market for this. I do believe they come into the picture at some point,” he said.
In 2016, at a competitive gaming event, the winning team of 5 players split the grand prize of $10-million. Colleges are getting involved as well. There are 15 universities giving video game scholarships as schools are starting e-sports competitive gaming tournaments.