“You can’t make a living sitting in front of a video game screen all day.”
What parent hasn’t said that? For parents who don’t think that video games have any real-world benefits, they might think their kids are wasting their time playing games all day. But are they?
While it’s true that most people will never make a living playing video games, there are still opportunities, including viable careers, in the gaming industry.
1. Game Developer
Yes, there are a million games out there for your teen to sink their money into, but someone had to make them first. Game design jobs are an expanding field and companies are hungry for young talent to create the next big hit.
While a designer’s dream might be landing a job with a major game studio designing AAA games (the video games with the biggest budgets), there are other ways to break into game developing. In fact, some of the best-selling games out there, including Minecraft, Undertale, and Cuphead, were created independently by small teams.
It takes motivation, talent, and good ideas to create something millions of people will enjoy. And game development is more than writing the code to run the game. It’s world-building, art design, scriptwriting, character development and even game testing to make sure the game works as intended.
2. Let’s Play and Streaming
Let’s Play and Streaming are two other paths to a career in video games. A Let’s Play is a recording of someone playing a game and talking over it, usually uploaded to YouTube. Streaming is similar to a Let’s Play, except that it’s live in front of an audience, usually on Twitch, a live-streaming video platform.
Whether live or recorded, millions of people tune in to watch gamers play popular games like Fortnite and God of War. Non-gamers may not understand the appeal, but viewers watch gamers for the same reason they watch actors in movies— the players have engaging personalities and are good at what they do and the stories are interesting.
3. Electronic Sports (esports)
Electronic Sports, also known as esports, is a growing field of opportunities for gamers. Fans watch electronic sports games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite and Super Smash Brothers much the same way they watch professional sports like football and soccer. And the the esports community is growing.
Professional esports players are paid to play video games and game tournament prize money can be impressive. DOTA 2, a multiplayer battle arena video game, hosted an international competition with over $25 million in prize money.
Viewership of esports is climbing, with big esports competitions attracting as many viewers as the Superbowl and other ports championships. Esports are also being considered for the 2024 Paris Olympics. For college-bound gamers, some colleges are even offering esports scholarships.
No one know how long games like Fortnite will be popular, but as long as there are video games, and people interested in playing them, lucrative careers in gaming will be possible. The variety of skills that are used to develop, broadcast or compete in video games can carry over into other careers in a variety of industries. The days of telling kids that playing video games is a waste of time are over—teen gamers might just find their future career in their favorite hobby.