Nathan "NBK" Schmitt - ProGamer

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
#G2eSports #Ancien Envyus, LDLC, Titan & VeryGames #DreamHack Masters Malmö 2017 #ESL Pro League Season 5 - Finals #World Electronic Sports Games 2016 #Global eSports Cup - Season 1 #Major DreamHack Open Cluj-Napoca 2015 #The World Championships 2015 # Gfinity Champion of Champions #Major DreamHack Winter 2014

 Atheltes mostly can’t communicate before the competiton ends. The content “In the skin” allow an athlete to share some of his secret and decisive moments that make the success of their projects.

For the CS:GO fans, Nathan “NBK” Schmitt doesn’t need a presentation. While he is actually in a period of doubts for the following of his career, the biggest palmares of the french scene decided to confide on his job of pro-gamer (c) HLTV 

My family always have been fan of technologies. My dad, my sister, my brother and less my mom loved video games. This is a passion that came to me naturally on different games and on every possible platform.

My attention went on eSport when I was 13, this is the moment I started to follow different websites specialized mostly on Counter-Strike. Then, I took the first step by registering for the first time in a particular CS:Source event in a cybercafé, it was a 3o3. I met here 2 semi-pro and a manager of one of the best french team. That was the start of my career and I came quickly in the legendary team of VeryGames.

I always have been passionate by CS even when the switch between Source and Global Offensive happenned, I thought about taking my chance on League Of Legends. I played a lot with pro-gamers that were playing the EU LCS, but finally, i kept the movement and ended up on CS:GO.

BE A PROFESSIONNAL WITHOUT LOSE THE PASSION OF THE GAME

Even if some obligations related with the medias or the sponsors are keeping in my mind that I am a professionnal gamer, I try to be detached from the concept of pro. I don’t want to lose this passion for the game that allows me to not count my hours, thing that i can’t do in a normal company.

Be a pro is for me the fact that I can make money on my passion. The question of the status of the players and the salary is taboo.

I took the first step by registering for the first time in a particular CS:Source event in a cybercafé, it was a 3o3. I met here 2 semi-pro and a manager of one of the best french team. That was the start of my career and I came quickly in the legendary team of VeryGames.

My case is a bit specific,  you have to differentiate my case and the others (those that live in France) because they own a society (SAS) where their team is going to gave them a salary, In my case, I live in Austria in an environment that I love to live with my girlfriend (native from Austria). So I have a compagny where I am the only shareholder, but under the Austrian law (GmbH). My team is going to put money on the account of the society and I will be able to give myself a salary or dividends.

Without telling you how much i get every month, know that the amount of the salaries are mostly really different between the teams. Some young talented teams but not quite known can get 500€/month while the best teams in the world will give from 15 to 25 000€ a month. I don’t think it is a bad thing, we all have been there to get some experience. But I don’t like the new upcoming mentality from some new talents that directly want a big salary before they go a 100% in the game and before they give their best. You need to deserve before ask.

After, the system isn’t perfect, because even if some can live with simply the talent, others have a big salary just because of their notoriety. I am thinking about Virtus Pro, they had some tough periods. But overall they are still the most popular team to the public, this explain the situation.

Beyond the salaries, a player will be able to win money from other sources: the cashprizes of the tournaments, the individuals sponsors (only if the team allows it), but skins* too. It’s a subject that a lot of people don’t want to talk about but there is a lot of pros working with encoders to create skins and sell them to normal gamers. We are talking about hundreds of thousands euros of benefit for some pros mostly from EU East countries. This is not bothering me even if i’m not in this kind of market, if everything is done correctly and legally I don’t see any problems to stop it.

*A skin is an appareance of a gun or an object with a particular design.

THE EVERYDAY OF A PLAYER

Outside the competition, we will train 5/8 hours a day of teamplay 5 days a week. The investment is different for every player especially with the role of In Game Leader that changed my perception of the passed time in CS:GO. In this period of creations, I took a lot of time thinking about the operation of the team and how to manage the different conflicts that may come back in the game, those have a capital effect on our level in game.

If I had to write my typical day, it will be:

-I wake up at 10 a.m, i’ll take an hour to wake up correctly.

-Then I will take my breakfast, watch some news and some matches from other teams.

-From 1/2 p.m this is time for individual and team training, it will ends at 9 p.m.

-To follow, I take 2 hours to chill, spend time with my girlfriend.

-Finally, from 11 p.m to 2 a.m, the role of IGL comes, I will analyze our matches to find some positives aspects but also the bad ones.

Ideally, I would love to see a hierarchy, with a coach clearly aboves the 5 players but also the leader that will be overall in a bubble to be the guy between the coach and the players. The perception of the leader from the players might be negative and split the coach and the players. The captain should be full of positive energy and should be able to pull up the team at 90%, but he shouldn't be too commited in the conflicts, expecially the silliest ones.

The role of Leader is particulate nowadays I think that the relation between the coach and the players isn’t the best possible. Ideally, I would love to see a hierarchy, with a coach clearly aboves the 5 players but also the leader that will be overall in a bubble to be the guy between the coach and the players. The perception of the leader from the players might be negative and split the coach and the players. The captain should be full of positive energy and should be able to pull up the team at 90%, but he shouldn’t be too commited in the conflicts, expecially the silliest ones. We also don’t have enough experienced players to fill this role, with the legitimacy to tell the good and bad aspects of their games without create any discords.

Every event is surely different but we can globally recap a day of match :

-Training in the hotel where we stay (they always have a space to repoduce the conditions of a real match)

-Arrival a bit late for the match period (between 1 and 4 hours)

-Session after the match with different medias for 1h, between individual interview and team interviews/pics/videos.

Finally, our programms are light because we don’t have any time to the physical, mental or nutrition training. This is although one of the axis of evolution that we will probably develop, it will surely give us an advantages compared to other teams. There isn’t good profiles in France to fill those roles, because we need people that are familiar with eSport.

Today, the only team to apply that is the danish Astralis with the results we all know. Of course they have the advantage to live close to each other (near Copenhagen) it allows them to replace a training by team building or a session of mental preparation. Their structure is really focused on that and are preparing them like real atheltes.

THE GOOD AND THE RARE BAD SIDES OF BEING A PRO

One of the positivest aspect of my career is of course the fact that I have fans that are supporting us, in events but also the whole year online. After a negative course during the DreamHack Marseille, this is always great to see guys between us, it gives me a lot of motivation everyday.

We owe a lot of things to every follower of CS:GO. To talk in a more philosophical way, this kind of exhange allow us to transmit something. This is a real consecration for us.

One of the positivest aspect of my career is of course the fact that I have fans that are supporting us, in events but also the whole year online.We owe a lot of things to every follower of CS:GO. To talk in a more philosophical way, this kind of exhange allow us to transmit something. This is a real consecration for us. 

Met people from every horizon, especially some french and english youtubers is also something i love to do. I will be happy to share with them my passion for CS in the future, with people like “Laink et Terracid”.

Finally, the competition is the conductive thread of my career. But this isn’t something I learnt, I always have been a competitor, I am still and will always be one.

There is overall a negative aspect in the life of a pro-gamer, I will say only one, this is the fact that we don’t have time outside of the game. Nowadays the competition is tough between different organizers of tournaments, it brings a lot of new events. Our sponsors want us to be on the most matches possible, so there is a lot of travel, it is time-consuming.

UNCLEAR FUTURE

The question of the future of the pro-gamers is really interesting because we are in a new sphere that is groing up a lot.

I faced this situation with this transition phase in G2. I took the lead and got benched later, this is a special situation for me.

But I’m lucky to have prepared my career by working for a few years with FaceIt who creates  eSport tournaments. I knew them when they were a really small compagny and I’ve been the first professionnal gamer to cast with them in their studio (back then its was a cave). I know that I will be able to work with them if I want too.

I also have the possibility to speak english well and I can easily do the same with german if it’s needed, this is a really good point in the world of eSport. I am 23 and I have 8 years of experience in the high-level of Counter Srike so this is a special situation because I am still a young player but I also have one of the biggest experience of the french scene. Do I want to play until I’m 30 or maybe I want to reconvert in an other domain ? This is a complicated situation and I don’t have the answer right now.

Future will tell us.

NBK

TRADUCTION DE TRISTAN ROBIN