Paid $1 million a year to play Call of Duty

Matt Haag admits it was always going to be a risky choice of career

Updated: 
Pro gamers

YouTube sensation Matt Haag is said to make $1 million (£640,000) a year from playing computer games. The 22-year-old from Chicago is better known as Nadeshot (short for grenade shot). He had always been a gamer, but decided to film his game-play of Call of Duty and put it online. He went full-time in 2012, and has now picked up an incredible 1.5 million subscribers of a new breed of people who watch computer games as a spectator sport.

The New York Times reported that his popularity means he has pulled in sponsorship deals, netting him his fortune. His biggest single deal is a sponsorship with Red Bull (which sponsors six of what it calls e-sports stars). He also sells a range of merchandise and has a contract to live-stream his daily gaming sessions.

Why?

His popularity stems partly from the fact he is a tournament-winning champion who has spent seven years dominating tournaments online, and is a member of the OpTic gaming team which competes at events worldwide. Like with any champion, fans like to watch him excelling at the game and winning.

He is also very open and emotional, posting regular video diaries, and talking to fans about every aspect of his life. Media analysts have put much of his popularity down to the fact that fans feel they have a personal relationship with him - and feel closer to him than they would to a traditional star.

Article continues below
Kevin Spacey Stars in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare


Struggle

In a recent video, he told his subscribers that life hadn't always been this easy. In 2012 he made the tough decision to move out of his parents' house - partly because they didn't see gaming as a proper job, so they made him go to college and work at McDonalds, and he got into trouble for not pulling his weight at home because he was trying to get in as much gaming as possible.

After moving out, his girlfriend supported him to a large extent, and he lived off $100,000 he had made from winning a tournament. However, he says: "The money wasn't as good as a lot of people felt", and in 2012 he made "poverty-level income". It was only at the beginning of 2013 that his channel exploded, the number of subscribers grew exponentially, and the income from the channel and the sponsorship started to turn his finances around.

He told his fans that he didn't recommend quitting college and your job and hoping for the best, because it was a high risk strategy, that even he didn't think was going to work.

By becoming a $1 million earner he has now hit the heights of YouTube income. However, he still has a long way to go before rivalling the undisputed king of YouTube gaming - Sweden's PewDiePie (whose real name is Felix Kjellberg). The 24-year-old former hot dog salesman has 27 million subscribers and earns an estimated $4 million a year playing games and narrating the experience.

Careers on AOL Money

Overtime: what are your rights?

The best-paid jobs you can do from home

Ten of the world's worst cover letters