At 24, Jonathan Wendel, aka “Fatality,” is living the dream. He expects to make over $200,000 this year as a professional gamer.
“It’s fun to play games for a living,” says Wendel. “Getting up every day is very easy.”
No kidding. The gaming industry is rapidly becoming the driving force in entertainment – already surpassing Hollywood in yearly revenue. The fact that people like Wendel can make a better than average living at it suggests that gaming is no longer considered a childish pastime – it’s a sport that requires a tremendous amount of skill.
“I’m doing something no one else has ever done before,” Wendel said during a break from practice for the Cyberathlete Professional League World Tour Grand Finals that begin Sunday in New York, where first place would win him a $150,000 check. “I’m kind of a pioneer.”
Despite pulling in a salary that is on par with many top level executives, Fatality lives a fairly bare bones existence. He currently lives on around $15,000 and invests the rest in his business.
“I don’t really have time to indulge in anything,” said Wendel. “I’m so dedicated and so determined to be the best I don’t have time to indulge in other stuff.”
Wendel estimates that three quarters of his time this year has been spent on the road. He generally spends at least 8 hours a day perfecting his craft.
Still, at 24, Wendell is an old-timer in the world of gaming. His success at the Grand Finals this year will go a long way in determining his future in the sport.
“Gaming is so much fun and so relaxing,” he said. “I don’t see why anyone would want to stop playing.”
Update: 11/23/05 Wendell did, in fact, win the Grand Finals this year – so it looks like he will be around for many years to come.
Posted by Sean