In 2019, a 15-year-old dropped out of school to play professionally, was that the right decision?

Although they have been coexisting with traditional sports such as football, basketball and others for several years, the esports –Fortnite in this case – they are still a relatively young discipline and, as such, the rules on how to play it are not fully written.

It is known, for example, that a child prodigy in soccer will begin to play professionally at the age of 17, at the earliest. In American football, a player can aspire to become a professional until after college or shortly before. But what about esports?

Well, it seems that the trail is still being discovered and those who are walking it as pioneers are youngsters like the British Benjy Fish, better known as “benjyfishy”who in 2019 gave a lot to talk about when his mother decided to take him out of school to dedicate himself completely to esportsafter having raised 11,300 euros in a tournament and with his sights set on a millionaire World Cup.

What happened to BenjyFishy?

Three years have passed and the big question for him and for everyone who wants to drop out of school to become a professional athlete in video games is What happened? Well, at first, things went more or less according to plan. Fish won two consolation prizes at World Championshipsadding nothing more for that, 100 thousand dollars.

In total, for the first two years, Benjy managed to raise half a million dollarsvalidating what at that time seemed like a wise decision, and where the adolescent was educated with a private tutor, while playing and streaming in parallel, gathering, at its best, up to 34 thousand simultaneous viewers, with what that implies in economic terms. The channel came to have almost 4 million subscribers.

I will be officially retiring from competitive Fortnite to pursue a career in Valorant. Lately I have been disappointed with Fortnite (…) The reason why I always wanted to be a professional gamer is that I always wanted to have a job that I enjoyed, so at this moment it seems pointless to worry about something that I no longer enjoy

But then things took a turn for the worse, largely motivated by decisions by Epic. The pandemic brought with it the cancellation of events and, in general terms, the competitive scene Fortnite began to become less lucrativedragging with her those who, like Fish, had bet everything on her.

As if it were a vicious circle, the economic decline brought with it that of motivation. In 2021, Fish made “only” $60,000 and by 2022, the sum had dwindled to a dismal 1500 dollarswith only 3 thousand simultaneous viewers -even less in the last month-.

Change of game

As it was, one might have come to see a return to a relatively normal life as the route to take, but instead BenjyFishy announced his retirement from the professional scene Fortniteto migrate to the Valoranthaving reached the highest rank in the game without complications and aware of the growing relevance of the title on Twitch.

On top of that, Fish announced that he would be joining Team Enterprise to compete in the regional league of Valorant from Eastern Europe -prelude to the most important continental competitions-, where he will play his first tournament soon.

So far, the story leaves a bittersweet taste, but when analyzed from a broad perspective, it seems that the decision has been the right one, since In just 3 years, Fish managed to earn almost 600 thousand dollars, the money of a lifetime for an average person. That said, the brief journey of this young Brit also highlights the risks involved in this profession, the things that are beyond the control of players and parents, what can be done to keep a career alive, and what is the situation general of a game like Fortnitebased on the feelings of their athletes.