Watch: Mobile phone gamer hopes to turn pro

Watch: Mobile phone gamer hopes to turn pro

Angelo Vella is out to make a splash at the Clash Royale world cup

Would-be professional mobile phone gamer Angelo Vella. Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

A Maltese mobile phone gamer is hoping to go pro as he travels to the ‘World Cup’ of a popular strategy game this weekend. 

Spending hours glued to your mobile phone, crushing ‘candy’ or catapulting ‘angry birds’ might seem like a bad habit for most, but not for 18-year-old Angelo Vella who is hoping to make a name for himself on mobile gaming phenomenon Clash Royale.

His index finger and thumb gliding over his phone’s screen, Mr Vella told the Times of Malta how he spends around five hours a day transfixed to the strategy game that sees players engage in one-on-one face-offs using decks of digital playing cards.

After coming up on top at the Malta qualifiers last year, the gamer will this weekend be representing the country in a worldwide showdown in Germany with a €50,000 prize pool at stake.

But his hopes are not limited to bringing home the prize money. Mr Vella says he wants to get noticed.

“There are professional teams and you can play this game professionally – if you are good enough. That is something I am hoping for. It won’t be easy, but I’m going to try,” he said, from the dining area of his family’s Qawra hotel.   

Mr Vella already forms part of a team of gamers called Qlash Academy, but is still only classified as an amateur. 

You can play this game professionally – if you are good enough

The regular monthly salaries of average professional gamers can range from a modest €1,500 to €6,000, and the highest paid players on platforms like League of Legends can earn up to €15,000 monthly apart from prize money and sponsorships.

It is estimated that around 427 million people worldwide will be watching some form of e-sports this year alone, so the market for these competitions is very much alive and kicking.

Mr Vella has a Clash Royale dream. Photo: ShutterstockMr Vella has a Clash Royale dream. Photo: Shutterstock

Whether it’s EA’s FIFA football game series or Valve Corporation’s Dota 2, players around the world are lining up for a chance to get their hands on hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money, in front of millions of viewers watching online and in physical arenas.

The competition in Germany will be huge. There will be a total of 36 players, all representing the best their country has to offer, and for Mr Vella to stand a chance of coming on out on top he will have to win against all his opponents.

“I’m just going to give it my best shot,” he said. 

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