New Zealand's highest paid gamer earns less than the minimum wage.
That's the sober, and potentially conflicting, reality from a worldwide Esports landscape on track to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of the year.
It's simply not that easy to make money playing video games. The millennial Esports dream may be to stumble out of bed at midday, sink into a comfy recliner and game for 10 hours while your food, accommodation and expenses are paid for.
But life is much more likely to consist of crowded housing arrangements, living out of a suitcase for months and chasing million-dollar purses at international events that never come.
The world of Esports is rapidly expanding and professional gaming is continually being legitimised as a realistic career, but there's some things you need to know.
This is the not-so-glamorous world of Esports.
Esports brought in more than US$900 million (NZ$13,811,656) in revenue in 2018 and is expected to become a billion-dollar industry by the end of this year.
Major international tournaments offer teams shares of millions of dollars in prize money while most players also earn additional salaries from their franchise.
Last year, the highest earning individual player, Jesse Vainikka, pocketed US$2,290,631.60 (NZ$3,515,268.42) of prize money – most of which was won at the Dota 2 Championships alone.
Meanwhile, the highest earning team, Team Liquid, made $24,448,847 (NZ$37,519,896.11) in tournament winnings.
But for those who aren't part of the top tier, particularly those based on this side of the world, earning millions of dollars playing video games is a pipe dream.
Sean 'Gratisfaction' Kaiwai is New Zealand's highest paid Esports gamer, having played with Grayhound Gaming and now Renegades in Australia.
Although having his accommodation, food and most expenses taken care of, Kaiwai has only earned NZ$90,000 from tournament winnings over the past four years according to esportsearning.com.
Having competed in 46 tournaments, Kaiwai earns an average NZ$1,900 per competition and has made an average of NZ$29,000 a year since going professional.
It's a respectable figure but its mark sits far below even the average income in New Zealand.
Wellington-born player Simon 'Sico' Williams, who represents Grayhound Gaming, has totalled just over NZ$29,000 in tournament earnings since going pro in 2016.
Only the top five of New Zealand's 180 professionally recognised players have earned more than NZ$35,000 in total winnings over their career.
Gaining individual recognition on the international stage and by gaming franchises can also be challenging.
More than 450 million people already participate in Esports around the world and with the sport non-restricting of a player's age, gender or physical ability, standing out can be difficult.
It's part of the reason the average retirement age for Esports professionals is 25, with teams spoilt for choice by the millions of young talented players emerging each year ready to take the seats of veterans.
Even after being signed to a prominent team, a player's future in the sport is always uncertain.
Teams are not restricted to selecting players based on their nationality either. This means an American team, such as FaZe Clan, can sign a player from any country.
So players aren't just up against the best in their country to gain selectors' attention, they're up against the best in the world.
Like most sports, gamers spend lots of time with their teammates both training and in competition.
But unlike other athletes, who can go home after spending time on tour to enjoy some much-needed downtime away from teammates and coaches, most gamers don't catch a break.
A full team of players including management officials more often than not live together in team houses.
Required to stay together for training and logistical purposes, teams can spend anywhere between six months to several years living together.
Having spent almost every day with his teammates this year, Kiwi gamer Rowan 'Roro' Goldsmith opened up on the struggles that came with being a professional Esports player when speaking with the Herald at the Intel Extreme Masters last month.
Last year, Goldsmith relocated to Sydney where he joined his teammates from Blank Esports after spending some time at a team house in Auckland.
The Overwatch star said although team houses were essential for a team's performance, it hardly takes long for the novelty of living in a house decked out with top of the range gaming gear to wear off.
"It can be tough living in a team house," Goldsmith admits. "I'm used to having my own personal time and space.
"Being cooped up with six or seven other people, it does get a bit tiring at times.
"I have to sometimes shut myself off in a room and take time out, meditate, or go for a walk by myself just to get away from the environment for a bit."
The hours involved training as a professional gamer can be tough too.
Although most gamers will tell you that training for more than 15 hours a day seven days a week is the sport's biggest myth, professional players are still expected to spend most of their time behind the PC.
Players on Team Liquid are said to practice for a minimum of 50 hours per week - and most play far more than that.
Some gamers are also content creators and spend most of their evenings gaming on live streaming platforms, such as Twitch, to connect with fans.
It's an all-in or all-out affair thanks to the full-year cycle and although the sport is often scrutinised as having no physical aspects, a study into Esports performance by German Sports University earlier this year revealed the intense physical stress players can come under when training and competing.
On average, players coordinate up to 400 movements per minute and can reach a heart rate of up to 120 to 180 beats per minute - almost the same stress level of a Formula One driver.
Gamers can present intense fatigue levels leading to physical stress due to the high levels of concentration, rapid coordination, and fast reaction times demanded by gaming.
Travelling schedules then add to the exhaustion, with most players admitting the international schedule can often be intense.
"The schedules are mental," Kaiwai says. "I've been living out of my suitcase for the last five months.
"All I've been doing is travelling around, going to Laundromats and s***. It's not that fun after a while.
"I don't get to spend a lot of time either with my family back in New Zealand. I am very family orientated so I miss them a lot."
Like any top athlete, gamers have to face the scrutiny of the media.
But with the internet a necessity for Esports, players also have to face the criticism of a far more ruthless group – internet trolls.
In internet slang, trolls are people who intentionally post demoralising and inflammatory messages about players in internet groups such as chat rooms or blogs.
Because gamers have to be active and accessible on social media in order to grow their personal brand they often open themselves up to all kinds of trolling.
Platforms such as Twitch that offer live chat rooms have made it even easier for trolls to launch personal attacks on gamers and criticise both their sporting and personal life.
And it's no different at live events.
The Esports community is full of passion, but also unforgiving.
One of the more common lines chanted by the 7,500 fans at IEM Sydney was "Henry's a w*****" and "Team Liquid, you're choking," when the side nearly gave away their lead in the grand final.
Given many professional players are aged between 16 and 25, the emotional abuse often takes its toll.
It's the very reason every professional Esports team has its own fulltime sports psychologist on board to not only guide players' mental game but assist them in dealing with fans and the media.
"There's a lot of support behind the scenes that you don't actually see," Kaiwai explains. "We have a sports psychologist specifically to talk to.
"They help us learn how to handle the pressure and make sure we're thinking healthily."
Public scrutiny isn't the only form of criticism Esports players face either. For some, the push back comes from the people closest to them.
Carrying the weight of their parent's disapproval is common for players, with most parents holding onto the views that gaming is nothing more than an unhealthy hobby.
After successful stints on both the football pitch and basketball court as a kid, Goldsmith has found it difficult to gain the same support from his parents he had when playing traditional sports.
"My dad was especially against it," Goldsmith says. "Even now, when they see me competing on stage they tell me to go outside and be more active.
"My parent's concerns are mainly over my health and wellbeing. They obviously didn't think it was good for me to be playing video games."
For some players, like Canadian gamer Stefano "Verbo" Disalvo, the disapproval can go further than just a few snarky remarks.
Disalvo, who now plays for one of the world's top Overwatch teams' Immortals,' opened up in an interview with kotaku.com.au on how his parents became the biggest obstacle when trying to go professional.
"My parents were completely against it," Disalvo said. "They would take away my modem and cut me off from the internet.
"I was told to quit many times because they thought I was wasting my time.
"When I wanted to pursue Esports, the relationship started falling apart. I was very distant from my mother, especially. It was rough."
Thanks to the booming popularity of Esports, the New Zealand gaming scene is rapidly growing - but it's still miles behind where the sport is at globally.
With a lack of international opportunities and professional franchises, the road to the top for Kiwi gamers isn't an easy one to navigate and it's certainly not one young players should turn their sole focus to.
Both Kaiwai and Goldsmith kept their options open when they decided to play professionally.
Gaining work experience and completing university degrees, they ensured they would have something to fall back onto when their gaming stints come to inevitable ends.
The pair are well aware that although there may be some exciting prospects to the sport with an enticing amount of money up for grabs, it's still a job - and one which rarely pays enough to set you up for life.
Likewise, in the same way any professional athlete does, gamers are required to put in time, hard work and make plenty of sacrifices in order to contend with the world's best.
Life as a professional gamer is not as glamorous as it seems.
It's not just all fun and games.