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New challenge for online pro gamers

THERE was a time where calling yourself a "pro gamer" meant you gambled or played poker for a living.

These days you'd be referring to someone who's applied the template of a pro athlete's life to the pursuit of playing computer games.

Take the coaches, the sponsorships, the relentless training and the big arena competitions and replace the sprinting with teams of (usually) young people blasting each other apart online - for some surprisingly high-stakes cash prizes.

Esports are big business, with betting and sponsorship money bringing pressure to the players and drama to the fans - so it only makes sense that this scene would be captured in a game of its own.

If you've seen Game Dev Tycoon, Pro Gamer Manager will be immediately recognisable. You begin your quest for Esports dominance in your bedroom in your family home. After having selected what type of person you are, with the choices impacting later gameplay, you begin to play and learn the popular online game FOBA (a fictionalisation of MOBA-style games like League of Legends and Dota 2).

It's clear from the outset that you're better off having a working knowledge of how the competitive MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) scene works as the whole game drips with the lingo it uses. Even regular gamers who avoid the (usually toxic) MOBA community may find themselves blindly choosing options until well into the mid-game.

It's hard to tell if this should be ironed out or kept deliberately - in this case, it's simulating the situation fairly accurately. Each day, at least at the outset, you can play or watch FOBA. The former nets you fans and experience points if you win and the latter nets you experience just for watching others play. Experience points are used to research how to use the different champions in FOBA, develop your own style, and eventually learn how to stream your playing for money.

As the game progresses, you'll earn cash, pay bills, and come across opportunities to play for teams and develop your career. A lot of it's not quite flushed out yet but it looks like the scaffolding is there for a decent representation of what the Esports life looks like.

I'm looking forward to this game being pushed to its potential. The developer, Raptor Clam/Millenway, is new to Steam so there's no history to go on for completion, sadly. They do have two existing mobile games out, Don't Die Birdy and Toby's Monster, so they're available as a guide. Pro Gamer Manager is available on Steam for $US9.99.

GAME ON: If you've seen Game Dev Tycoon, Pro Gamer Manager will be immediately recognisable.

Topics:  gaming gympie

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