What if I told you that playing videogames can make you rich?
That’s right, those countless hours spent honing your skills in your favorite game can pay off after all – now is the time to gloat to your parents and others who looked down on your time as a dedicated gamer. This idea is one that can be owed to the rise of competitive gaming competitions, otherwise known as Electronic sports.
ESports have been around since as early as the 70s. Those were the days in which competitions over who can get the highest score in games such as Space Invader, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong took place. Even then, these competitions gained notable recognition, with a few winners being featured in magazines such as Time and Life, and even having their names and high scores listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But, with the evolution of video gaming in a more technologically advance society, the support for these competitions have more than doubled. With big name companies like Virgin Mobile, American Express and Coca-Cola sponsoring tournaments and eSport teams, and with gaming events being televised, and in some cases, having their own television channel, the most skilled video-gamer or gaming team can expect to win a tournament with an enormous cash prize – with the highest recorded prize being as much as $40 million in 2014.
Competitive gaming is a route that many expect to grow even further. Colleges, for example, are even looking to attract the most skillful gamers to their campus by offering scholarships for eSports. As is the case with Robert Morris University in Illinois in 2014, it became the first college to offer eSport scholarships; 30 or so, $19,000 scholarships were awarded to their recruited, competitive League of Legend players. Game developers and publishers, Blizzard Entertainment and Riot Games, even started their own eSport college initiative program, in which college eSport clubs can receive funding and other benefits from the companies.
However, competitive gaming isn’t just limited to those who play L.O.L. and other online strategic and battle arena PC games. For example, from 2005 to 2008, ESPN hosted Madden NFL tournaments in the show Madden Nation; and in the past year, 2014, Nintendo had hosted its own online-streamed Super Smash Bros. tournament. There are also plans from the Halo developers, 343 industries, to create an eSport league with a cash pool of $50,000 for the beloved franchised; this’ll allow Halo to join the ranks of FIFA, Call of Duty, Street Fighter and Tekken, some of the very few console games that are currently popular eSport mediums.
Competitive gaming is a medium that is continuing to speed up alongside the progression and advancement of videogames and the gamer.
With the many students who attend CCNY, just imagine how many of them have grown up alongside their cherished childhood videogames. Now, imagine how many still play these videogames, whether in the game room or in the comforts of his or her home. Now, playing videogames isn’t something that’s really hard to imagine. Most of us have had the luxury of doing so at some point.
But what if City College had its own competitive gaming club? Will students be offered eSport scholarships to enroll? Will the next million-dollar-winning videogame team be a couple of students from CCNY?
Maybe. But, maybe not.
However, it is none the less possible. And with each year that goes by, more and more is becoming possible for the average person who had spent his or her time playing videogames – in essence, the gamer.