Not many people can boast that their favorite after-school activity of playing video games became a legitimate career. But Jvonn Williams, 22, has managed to earn over six figures playing “Gears of War,” according to AfroTech. And he’s just getting started.
Like most people, Williams began playing video games at a young age. He was only 10 years old when he first picked up a controller. He started small, creating content. Later, he began to attend gaming events, conventions that allow players to compete in hopes of winning a cash prize.
Williams was 16 when he participated in his first contest, Game Battles, touted as the largest cross-platform esports service and offering over $10 million in prize money.
“…Just out of nowhere, I had to prove myself ’cause at that point you’re just known for being an online player and not known for ever actually competing in a legit setting, which is the lan events,” Williams told AfroTech. Williams ultimately placed in the top five, solidifying him as a formidable opponent and leaving with a sterling reputation.
Super important, always will be. Find confidence in yourself and others will be able to find confidence in you .. it’s also funny that you have a blue lock avi https://t.co/sjv9NICtRj
— Avexys (@_Avexys) June 19, 2023
Williams has earned over $100,000 from participating in “Gears of War” tournaments. Hs has also successfully created a brand for himself, generating revenue through his content.
“When you become the No. 1 in the world, you bring so much traffic to yourself that you start making money from other ways, you don’t only make money from playing in those prize tournaments,” he said. “You make money from just your name, your brand. Nobody could ever fire you from that content. There is a lot of longevity in that.”
While Williams regrets not monetizing his early content, his career ascent has been punctuated with support from different organizations. Shortly after his first competition, Williams received backing from PURE Gaming—a monthly salary of $1,500 to $2,000. At 19, he began working with the Black-owned esports organization Rise, which also offered him a monthly stipend.
Though Williams has made a career for himself at “Gears of War,” he has now set his sights on conquering “Apex Legends,” a game created by Respawn Entertainment. But that’s not his end game.
“I personally feel like competing at a professional level isn’t gonna last forever,” he said. “So yes, my ultimate goal is 100% to be a full-time content creator. If I can end up being there, I feel like I did everything right at that point.”
Williams also offered words of advice to aspiring gamers: “It’s better to monetize yourself and grow as much as you can in the content world because that can never be taken away from you, and that can grow to like literally anything.”