As if you needed any more reason to keep playing video games, here’s the tale of 22-year-old Wei “CaoMei” Han-Dong, a gamer who earns 5 million RMB ($817,863) annually playing popular multiplayer game “League of Legends” online.
CaoMei was originally making as little as 3,000 RMB ($491) a month playing as a “trainee” in 2011 and up to 20,000 RMB ($3,271) a couple of years after winning the “League of Legends” IPL 5 tournament in late 2012. Now, after having been retired from professional play since August, CaoMei makes over $800,000 a year as a professional streamer on ZhanQi TV.
Starting in junior high, CaoMei played “Defense of the Ancients,” a game similar to the 27 million daily players-strong “League of Legends,” to which he switched after five years while in high school. The switch proved fortuitous, as after only three months of playing at an internet cafe where he paid 6 RMB a night, CaoMei reached the No. 1 ranking in China and was invited to join the most famous esports club in the country, World Elite.
Like most other moms, CaoMei’s was against her son devoting so much time to playing video games. She spent her days toiling in a breakfast restaurant, and the first thing she would do after work was pick up her son from the cafe at which he played. She eventually changed her mind when she saw his first paychecks come in.
Getting to the point where he was making serious money, however, was not just fun and games — during his busiest, CaoMei slept only four hours a night and was training when he was not eating:
“The training was so much that I could only say goodnight to my girlfriend everyday.”
So what goes into his $800,000-a-year streaming job? CaoMei has to stream himself playing “League of Legends,” complete with commentary and jokes, only 90 hours a month, which equates to a few hours a day. Every one of CaoMei’s streams pulls in over 100,000 viewers, and he attributes some of his popularity to the fact that he’s perceived as attractive. “It may not be good to say this, but maybe some of the pro-gamers don’t have my looks,” CaoMei said.
And CaoMei lived happily ever after pulling in girls and a high six-figure salary just by streaming gameplay a few hours a day. So, the next time one of your parents or your girlfriend/boyfriend tells you to hang up the controller, tell them the tale of CaoMei.