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Hire a Game Coach Online 179

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Expert videogame players, many of them teens, are forging professional careers as coaches, finding clients — many of them in their 20s or 30s — online, the Wall Street Journal reports. Some gigs pay $65 an hour. From the article: ' says its youngest "Halo 2" instructor is 8-year-old New Yorker Victor De Leon III — better known by his online gamer name, Lil Poison — who has given several lessons a month since late last year, fitting the classes in after he has done his homework. His father, also named Victor, says his son has used some of the money he earns from lessons (hourly rate: $25) to buy a hamster, named Cortana after a character in the game.'"
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Hire a Game Coach Online

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  • by krell ( 896769 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:31AM (#15791353) Journal
    I've heard of life coaches. But get-a-life coaches; that's something new!
  • by WinEveryGame ( 978424 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:32AM (#15791365) Homepage
    While 1-1 coaching will always have its place, there is more and more help getting available to on-line gamers in form of communities (gaming help websites) and some automated tools. If you are looking at making this your profession watch out for these help options as your competitors!
    • I have always been a big fan or forums (fora?) as I imagine most /.ers also are. When I am playing just about any game ever made, I have been able to find help online. I fail to see what these coaches do that a player's friends cannot. Oh wait... friends?
    • Exactly.

      This made me ponder how I aquired my own (moderate, granted) gaming skills, and I did realize that a degree of mentoring did have a roll. I remember the Total Annihilation strat forums rather well (and the odd philosophical conversations...), and the UT forums also helped. When it came to console FPS games, the learning curve more involved getting myself killed 8000 times in Halo DMs (to my freinds amusement) before mastering those nasty little controller things.

      It seems that in gaming, (good) pla
  • So many odd things about this article, including the kid's name: "Victor De Leon III". Sounds like a mafia boss. Wonder if he's allowed to play GTA?

    What gets me is why anyone would want to pay? It's like paying someone to eat chocolate for you.
    • People pay trainers for physically involved sports (like tennis, golf and bowling...)

      Guess it's a sign of maturity for video games that now rich nutjobs decide they can buy their way to the top since they don't "have the time" to really practice (plus they're getting annoyed that 8 year olds can beat them). And it's not like your Halo character can be PL'd...
      • It's not just rich nutjobs trying to buy their way to the top who hire a couch. Plenty of people in this world who know they are never ever going to be a professional golfer, will buy a lesson or two off a local golf pro. Why? So that they become a little better, and can play a little more evenly with a group of friends that they go out with regularly. I wouldn't do it, but I can imagine someone might buy a computer game lesson or two somewhere so they could be a little more competitive with their group
  • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:34AM (#15791388) Homepage Journal
    That's really quite interesting. Too bad they only offer classes for first-person-shooter games. I've gotten good enough at City of Heroes/Villains that I could probably earn out some great rates giving hourly instruction in that game. I wonder if there are any other sites where a game guru could offer their teaching skills for hire. (It would certainly be a better value for the money than those "pay-for-PL" sites.)
    • Dude, CoH/CoV aren't exactly the kind of game where a person needs more than about an hour of coaching even if they're brand spanking new. The idea of a coach for a twitch game sounds pretty normal to me though. Lots of sports are about high speed precision movements (like fencing), and people have no qualms about hiring coaches to help them get better at that.
      • On the contrary, City of Heroes/Villains is exactly the kind of game where you really need expert assistance in a lot of ways, due to Cryptic's annoying habit of not documenting anything (and not being accurate half the time in what they do document). There are all kinds of little "gotchas" in character building that can trip you up, powers that look decent in the in-game interface but those "in the know" avoid like the plague, advanced methods of gameplay that can only be learned through hard knocks or thr
        • That's not a job for a trainer, that's a job for a FAQ.

          What you're suggesting is more like paying someone to do your homework for you, but it is not the same as training one how to do something.
    • Coach: Thank you for hiring "l33t ski11z Game Coaches". I understand you need help with Battlefield?

      Cust: Yes

      Coach: Ok, work your way to where the enemy spawn point is. Camp there and kill anyone who appears before they can orient themselves. Thank you for hiring "l33t ski11z Game Coaches".
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:35AM (#15791397) Homepage Journal

    • £50/Hr: Rule MMORPGs with an Iron Fist.
    • £30/Hr: Winning strategies for Halo 2 and most other Console games.
    • £5/Hr: Finally beat Pac Man, Asteroids or Galaxians.
    • £1/Hr: Oaths, Obscenitites, Epithets and throwing things and the screen.
    • Staring dumbly as you die in an utterly futile gesture is always Free.
  • Wow. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:36AM (#15791409) Homepage Journal
    I'd laugh at how huge a waste of life this is, were I not actually guilty of calling a Nintendo "game counselor" once during my childhood. Still, this would have been my dream job at that age, and a friend of mine in 8th grade actually made a few dollars selling VHS videos of him beating whatever NES game in his collection the customer wanted to see. Screw selling lemonade or delivering newspapers...
    • I actually called Sir-Tech software for help with Wizardy I or II when I was a kid. Another kid actually answered the phone (for free!) and helped me out. I swear it felt like I was talking to the owner's son.

      By the way, when you think of how many hours you'd have to play to become good enough at a game so that you can sell your knowledge it probably works out to less than you'd make bagging groceries.
  • It seems to me that some 30 to 40 year olds that have to much money but not enough youth are just tring to get it to this new thingy called video games. It's not the idea that they want to have fun that bothers me it's the idea that people that can't read and instruction booklet or stratagy guide have that much disposable income.
  • Top Starcraft players would offer lessons either on a hourly level or a per game level at some ludricous rate too. Of course, given the free flow of information of the Net, you'll find that none of these experts actually had any secret worth paying for because if they did, everyone would've known about it already. Although the secret to being good at games and almost anything else in general is just talent + practice, people are quite willing to pretend this isn't the case and if you just get 'the secret
    • It's the diet craze in video game format. I have a feeling that if you need to pay someone to teach you how to play video games, you probably have neither the patience nor the skill required to be good at video games. As long as there's people buyin', though, there'll be people sellin'.
  • NO KIDDING! (Score:4, Funny)

    by liak12345 ( 967676 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:39AM (#15791455)
    8-year-old New Yorker Victor De Leon III
    His father, also named Victor
    Thank you for pointing out that the father of a person named Victor the Third is also named Victor. I would have missed that completely.
  • Why does anyone need to hire a coach for video games? If yo want to get better--here's a novel thought--find where the good players go, and go there, too. It will either force you to get better or give up because you lack any natural aptitude for the game.

    Example: A lot of RTS games now have replay features. Want to get better? Every time you get stomped, watch the replay and see what the other guy did. Try to emulate it in sandbox or skirmish mode. After a few dozen replays you'll be playing like a compete
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Reapy ( 688651 )
      Seriously. I used this technique when I first jumpped into jedi outcast online (1.2 patch). I was losing left and right and had no clue. I speced the guy who was number one for a long while. He was running up to people and kicking them, then doing a heavy overhead swing on their prone bodies. It was working pretty well.

      I started doing it. I noticed immediate results. I kept doing it until I got proficient at the technique. I later learned a whole bunch of varients on it through expriemntation, but always ha
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by PFI_Optix ( 936301 )

        Very simple concept, just takes a little bit of time to get there.

        It's also rewarding.

        I don't know why I should be at all surprised that people are spending money on getting better at games. The solution to everything these days is to throw money at it; that's why I quit playing CCGs like Magic: The Gathering a decade ago...I wasn't able to spend the thousands of dollars required to even have hope of competing in the tournaments.

        I suppose we're just forgetting the joy of doing things for ourselves. Our soci

        • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:34PM (#15791943)
          Oh please. How is this different than:

          1) Coaches in every sport imaginable
          2) Exercise consultants in the gym of your choice
          3) Music teachers

          I mean, to learn piano, all you need is to buy a piano and then just plunk away at it until you're playing Chopin, right?
          • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @12:56PM (#15792132) Homepage Journal

            I mean, to learn piano, all you need is to buy a piano and then just plunk away at it until you're playing Chopin, right?

            You seem to be implying that learning to play a video game well is equal in difficulty to learning to become a skilled pianist. For that matter, do you think that becoming a skilled basketball player or swimmer is no more difficult than becoming skilled at Halo 2?

            I don't think all activities are equal in difficulty, particularly given that video games are created specifically to be playable. The piano wasn't created to be easy to learn. Video games are.

          • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by ericlondaits ( 32714 )
            How? Easy... ... those skills you mentioned are usually for life, while coaching for a specific video game lasts at most a couple of years.
          • Oh please. How is this different than:

            1) Coaches in every sport imaginable
            2) Exercise consultants in the gym of your choice
            3) Music teachers

            I mean, to learn piano, all you need is to buy a piano and then just plunk away at it until you're playing Chopin, right?

            1) What do sports coaches teach? The rules of the game (because real-life sports rarely come with manuals and tutorials included), how to not get yourself physically hurt (stretching, properly exercises, proper technique in executing the physical comp

    • Why does anyone need to hire a coach for video games? If yo want to get better--here's a novel thought--find where the good players go, and go there, too. It will either force you to get better or give up because you lack any natural aptitude for the game.

      I believe the thinking would be:

      But that takes time and effort. I want to be better RIGHT NOW! (and I don't mind paying for it)

    • This is no different than the people who buy gold in MMORPG's. If anything it might be more productive. There are always the people who have more money than time and are willing to make up the difference by pulling out the checkbook. Gold in a game doesn't buy - pardon the pun, game, but a few hours with a coach just might.

  • Rather than paying $25 an hour, why not use gamefaqs or other related sites? If nothing else, its more convenient to print off a walkthrough and have it handy for when it is needed.
    • They must have enough money that they feel paying $25+/hr to have someone spoonfeed them the strategies is a better overall use of their time than scrounging around for the tips themselves. That and sometimes there is just no substitute for having someone actually show you how to do something and there to offer you immediate feedback on how to improve.
  • by bermabloeme ( 990995 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:43AM (#15791487)
    And he put me on a special diet for gaming that's guaranteed to make me a champ! It goes like this:

    Jolt Cola, Mountain Dew, Coffee.

    Hamburgers, Tacos, Pizza - lot's of pepperoni and sausage - need that protein!

    Skittles, Gummi Bears, etc... - sugars for the brain.

    Cross training across platforms: alternating days of: PS/2, PCGames, Nintendo, etc...

  • Yesterday we had an article about fighting game addiction. Today we have an article about guys who are essentially paid to encourage more gaming.
    • Its like government advice, one week we eat to much salt, the next week we aren't eeating enough. At the end of the day if someone can afford to pay for this sort of things, not go hungry and enjoy themselves who are we to pass judgement
  • by mypalmike ( 454265 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:45AM (#15791498) Homepage
    The people who are paying for these lessons are getting schooled.
  • Is the minute I quit. I have a rule when playing video games. As soon as I am frustrated, I put the mouse/controller down and go do something else. I used to play UT a lot and would find that I started to get frustrated when I died and flip out at the computer. I still play UT, but not quite as much and I find that I have a lot more fun in doing so. Games are meant to be FUN, not a chore. I refuse to ever "practice" in a video game, I just play it and have fun, if I get better as a side effect, oh
  • Mercenaries (Score:2, Insightful)

    I have a wonderful idea. Instead of hiring someone to try to make you a good player, you can hire me and I'll play for you as an excellent player! You specify game, weapon of choice, handle and taunts and I'll supply the a**-kicking.
  • by antime ( 739998 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:52AM (#15791571)
    Doesn't anyone find it a little odd that an eight-year-old is making money playing an M-rated game?
    • My parents knew I could handle certain violent movies at that age, so apparently his parents feel the same of him. That's as it should be, with parents informed about the content who know their own child making educated choices.

      That said, imagine the uproar had Halo been M-rated for boobs instead of violence! Gasp! Shock! Horror!
  • welcome our new diaper-wearing game coach overlords
  • One day we have stories of rehab clinics for game depenencies, the next day we have articles about professional gaming coaches!

    I think people are just confused about what to do with the enthusiams games generate.
  • I wonder if these kids are abiding by state labor laws. Many states limit employment for minors by time of day and hours/week. How many hours a week do these kids need to PLAY the games to be good enough to teach others to do so? Also, if they are earning more than $400 a year they are required to file with the IRS.

    Regardless, allowing children to be employed this way seems short-sighted on the part of parents. Service jobs at least teach kids to deal with people they may not like. Employment of this s
    • Bah... This kid's happy because he was able to buy himself a pet hamster with his coaching job. Do you think those sell for upwards of $400? I think the truth is, they might be billing at rates of $25/hr. or even $65/hr. but they've only found clients willing to pay for a couple hours of time, total.

      As a parent myself, I would have no problem with my kid doing something like this. Charging an hourly fee for coaching someone teaches quite a few useful skills. They learn that they have to keep a customer
  • Hurm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by EinZweiDrei ( 955497 ) *
    Though I'd really like to condemn paying for video-game lessons as modern-day insanity, I'd probably just as soon turn around and be accepting of someone paying money for lessons from a chess coach. And though I'd like to think of chess as a much more noble cause for tutoring than Counter-Strike [It is.], I can't help but cringe at my double standard a little while doing so.

    But, ah, this is ridiculous, in its own right.
  • He used the money to buy a hamster... So, what, he taught for 1 hour at $25 an hour?
  • I think this is a symptom of games become popular with a lot of individuals who are just getting into gaming, and because many of the newer gaming audiences lack the youth, experience, or built-in reflexes that hardcore gamers have been leveraging to pwn them properly. Just as people pay money to have instructors come to their house and show them how to use their computer, I can imagine a day when grandma calls me in to help her figure out how to play sudoku online, or maybe pwn some n00b who won't keep of
  • Fairly useless (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ashman512 ( 987591 )
    I think that the idea of having a coach for gaming is pretty pathetic, not to mention useless. With the internet, and sites like Gamefaqs and IGN, most strategies and tips are all available free. If there are any special "secret" strategies for a game, they can usually be found for free on the internet. Another thing that is I find useless about coaches is that, if you are already good at a game, you aren't going to be needing a whole lot of help. People that already suck probably aren't going to get a w
  • by AriaStar ( 964558 ) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @03:40PM (#15793823) Journal
    Most people who are good enough to even consider coaching have been playing steadily for more years than that kid has been alive. He's eight. How many years can be reasonably have been playing? Three? Maybe four? He was put on the controller at the age of TWO. According to his website, he's been doing this since he was SIX and won a championship at the age of just FIVE. Does this kid have any activities (I'm not buying it if anyone says he actually goes out) aside from video games, or is he being set up for a miserable life of obesity and notknowing how to make friends and connect with people? Good gods, his parents should be ashamed.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison