Gaming for money

RUG student Sander Everink (22) does what many of his contemporaries can only dream of: he makes a living playing video games. Together with his team he will be at the Groot Nederlands Studenten Kampioenschap (Dutch Student Championships, GNSK) in Eindhoven, where eSports are part of the programme for the first time.
By Freek Schueler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

The business student started his gaming career just like any other gamer: playing computer games in his room for fun. He slowly improves and makes his way through the virtual ranks of strategic game League of Legends, the game Everink and his team play.

Together with a few gaming friends, they decide to test their skills at a large LAN event in Drachten. It is Everink’s first official tournament, although at this point his team is still made up of him and his friends. Since then he has participated in dozens of tournaments, with teams from Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Spain. These days ‘Kitty’, which is Everink’s nickname, plays for the German team Mysterious Monkeys.

Lucrative

Gaming nets him quit a nice sum. A professional eSports team is not all that different from traditional sports teams. Mysterious Monkeys has five players (plus one on reserve), a manager, an analyst, and a coach. Everink’s team plays at the second-highest level.

This means the business student makes between one and two thousand euros a month – he is not allowed to tell us the exact amount. The travel costs to and from the tournaments are also covered. But it is not just about the money for him. ‘Playing in a team, working together towards a common goal; it’s a lot of fun’, he says.

Dialing back

Yet Everink will not be gaming his entire life. He knows that after 25, his reflexes will not be as fast and he will not be able to keep up with the younger players. ‘The money is nice, and I’d like to keep doing it for another year or so, but in the long term, it’s more lucrative for me to finish school.’ He plans to dial back his gaming starting next year and going back to focusing on his studies full time.

Studying and professional gaming, Everink has noticed, are not exactly a match made in heaven: last year his grades were disappointing. Just like with any other sport, training takes up a lot of time. ‘When I’m preparing for a tournament I play several practice games against other teams between seven and ten p.m. every single day’, according to Everink. ‘And then I also have to practice on my own.’

This weekend is another tournament. Together with Ruben Oudshoorn, Allard de Vries, and Xander and Milan Mostertman, Everink will be playing at the GNSK in Eindhoven, where the team will represent Groningen. He is optimistic about their chances: ‘I don’t think there will be any teams that can easily beat us.’

Nederlands

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