Playing FIFA 18 for a living is what many gamers dream of.
But for Ivan “BorasLegend” Lapanje, mastering EA’s beautiful game is earning him a fortune.
“Since I turned pro, I make an average of around €50,000 a year with prize money and endorsements,” Lapanje told Dream Team Gaming.
“It’s my full-time job. It is like all other professional sports.”
The 24-year-old holds a Guinness Gaming World Record for being the highest-earning FIFA player to date.
In 2013 alone, the Swede pocketed £114,000 – most of which came from winning the Virgin Gaming EA Sports FIFA Challenge in Las Vegas, US.
But playing FIFA all day can take its toll – and staying at the top requires hard work and dedication.
“You always have to practice a lot to stay on top,” Lapanje explains. “It’s the pressure to maintain the results.
“You never know if or when you will hit a down period.”
Lapanje started playing the game at an early age, but it wasn’t until he quit his football career that he started taking it more seriously.
He quit his job in clothing retail and focused all efforts on mastering FIFA.
“I prefer this over a 9-5 job,” he said. “I have a lot of free time, get to see the world and decide my own schedule.
“Many competitions are still played online but I travel abroad eight or nine times a year for FIFA-related work.”
This jet-set lifestyle can take its toll – so the Swede needs to keep his body and mind in tip-top condition.
“A healthy lifestyle is important to maintain your brain, because it’s your main tool in gaming,” he explains.
“Sleeping, eating and exercise will keep your system in good shape.”
Unfortunately, no matter Lapanje does, sometimes he’s at the mercy of the game, which often throws up unwanted ‘randomness’ in online play.
This is something the Swede wants addressed before FIFA 19 is released.
“Better servers are something that EA has to work on as well as some players have to upgrade their potato routers,” he said.
“There is still a lot situations in the game that are random like lucky rebounds, goalkeeper mistakes etc.
“Randomness makes people frustrated and is not good for the competitive scene.”
Fancy becoming the next Lapanje? The Swede explains it’s all about taking your time.
“Patience in the game is important,” he explains.
“A lot of people rush in defence and give away easy balls in the attack. Make the midfield work more! A lot of people would improve very much with greater patience.”
Lapanje also believes gamers shouldn’t shy away from tougher matches.
“Challenge yourself, find the toughest opponents and challenge them, that’s always the best way to develop and find your weakness,” he said.
“Analyse your gameplay in order to find your weakness. You need to find anything you need to improve and work on. Work on your weakness and improve your strengths!
“It may sound like a cliché but confidence in yourself and your game style is vital. If you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t.”
So, how long does Lapanje think he’ll stay at the top?
“I will keep playing as long as I feel that I can win beat anybody,” he said.
“You might still see me playing when I’m 85 in my wheelchair.”
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