Apex Legends pro warns against esports career & reveals “poverty line” income

Declan Mclaughlin
Two casters commentating during the ALGS Split 1 Playoffs

Veteran Apex Legends esports professional player Will ‘TeQ’ Starck put up a lengthy post detailing why people should think twice about competitive gaming as a career and showcased his overall earnings.

Esports can look like a dream job for some as players can be paid thousands of dollars to play games like Apex Legends and compete in tournaments with huge prize pools worldwide. But, just like traditional sports, most of those trying to play in professional esports make little money compared to top-end talent even if they stream and win the occasional tournament.

Longtime Apex Legends pro Will ‘TeQ’ Starck posted a warning to people testing the professional waters to have a backup plan and used his finances as an example.

TeQ said that he had made about $70,000, which includes his salary from when he played for FURIA and Sentinels, tournament winnings, and streaming income, across his four-year career.

“That’s an average of around ~$1500/month, which would put me at the poverty line in America if it was my only job,” the pro explained.

TeQ is an engineer by day and still competes in the ALGS North American Pro League. He was last signed with Sentinels and currently competes on the unsigned team Meat Lovers. The player said he has considered leaving his day job, but is glad he maintained it as he knows former pros who are having trouble finding careers after going “all in” on esports early in life.

“You do not want to be stuck in the loop of door-dashing, fast food, retail, etc. For those who are trying to achieve greatness in this space, be realistic with yourself & don’t drop everything,” TeQ said.

Esports on the top end is still in a risky space as investments into the industry has slowed massively since its peak, and multiple orgs have tightened their belts in terms of the amount of teams they have signed and player salaries. The highest-paid pros also still have to deal with uneven contracts, labor disputes, and post-retirement careers as most players flame out of competitive video games in their late 20’s and still have bills to pay.

However, even during the height of Apex Legends esports, a smaller esport when compared to giants like Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike, paid opportunities from organizations were not incredibly lucrative.