Video game industry is growing, gaining more acceptance

Joshua Mounts, Columnist

Josh Mounts

For years it seems that being a “gamer,” or one who plays video games, has been quite a stigma. Over more recent years, this seems to have shifted a bit.

Video gaming and the people who participate in the activity have been held in a negative light in the past. People haven’t considered the “sport” to be a sport; they’ve considered the act of playing video games to be contributed to a string of negative personal or objective characteristics in the people that play them.

Playing video games has been slowly growing more widely accepted and has really picked up in the last five or so years alone.

Through the last few years celebrities, musicians, professional athletes and others in the public eye have been open with their video game playing habits on their social media. The 2017 game “Fortnite” has been the forefront leader of the gaming societal integration in the last two years.

One of the most notable celebrities who has put himself in the spotlight for video games is the recording artist Drake.

Drake very recently invested in a professional video gaming organization known as 100 Thieves, more commonly known as esports. After the investment Drake made, he is now a part-owner of the organization as a whole.

Drake knows that investing in an organization such as an eSports team is a wise business venture as the video game industry has been gradually growing into a viable and legitimate industry in society.

Even before Drake made his investment in 100 Thieves, he partnered up with prominent video game streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

The two, with the company of NFL player Juju Smith-Schuster and rapper Travis Scott, played “Fortnite” together and pulled the attention of a whopping 635,000 concurrent viewers on the streaming service Twitch. This new non-tournament record smashed the previous record which had been set at 388,000 concurrent viewers.

Events like this, as well as the constant exposure from celebrities and other public figures, have brought video games to a whole new light in the public sphere. Video gaming is being taken to a higher competitive status at the same time. Many argue that video gaming takes similar talents, focus, determination, coordination, even overall athleticism and more, similar to other sports like football, baseball and soccer.

Organizations, such as the one Drake has invested so much into, are gaining popularity and funding for tournaments and events due to their ever-growing vast audiences. Forbes reports that the industry has grown exponentially larger over the past three years alone.

“The eSports industry has grown at a tremendous pace over the past few years. Per a report from Newzoo, total eSports revenue jumped from $493 million in 2016 to $655 million in 2017, and total revenue could exceed $900 million in 2018,” the Trefis Team wrote for Forbes.

Doing research on any number of tournaments for any number of different games will show just how much money video game players can actually take home. Besides winnings in tournaments, more people are gaining success and making an actual living for themselves in the industry as live streamers on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube.

Colleges around the United States are beginning to offer scholarships to young people to get them to play for them in collegiate esports leagues, just like football or basketball scholarships.

Video games and esports have even found their way into the sports network giant, ESPN.

I always remember my mom telling me to get off my Xbox 360, stop playing “Modern Warfare 2” or “Halo 3” and get to bed so I would wake up in the morning for school. Sometimes I sit, daydream and wonder about if I had kept playing those games back in the day if I could be making a living off video gaming.

Whether you’re a fan of video games, esports or not, it seems that they’re essentially everywhere nowadays and are here to stay; not only that but it seems they will only continue to grow for the foreseeable future. So who knows, maybe instead of parents putting a ball, bat or mitt in their kids’ hands it could be a controller, mouse and keyboard that leads them to the major leagues and in the end, the big bucks and fame.