When teenagers started becoming millionaires for playing video games, some people may have questioned: How did this become a viable career option?
Continue Reading Below
Tastemakers president Scott Bachrach, however, called it a "natural progression."
"If years ago, we would have sat back and said 'An NBA player could make $100 million,' people would be like 'For playing basketball?'"
Bachrach told FOX Business the transition from people playing video games for hours on end at home into banking on these honed skills is getting people excited, too.
So excited, in fact, people are packing into places like New York’s Madison Square Garden and The Staples Center in Los Angeles to watch them compete.
"There is an audience of people that want to watch that content," Bachrach told FOX Business. "They're being paid for their skill set. So I think that it's great. I think it's fantastic."
Bachrach said it's "phenomenal" that so many professional video game players "are earning tons of money and they have great endorsements."
In 2019 alone, the gaming industry raked in more than $106 million in advertising, media rights and sponsorships, according to Gamer World News Entertainment CEO Gayle Dickie, and the industry is expected to produce $1.6 billion in revenue by 2021.
The rise of e-sports has also been an extravagant source of income for professional gamers and streamers (people who stream video games). Top players can earn as much as $3.5 million annually, while streamers can make over $1,000,000 a month, according to Dickie.
Bachrach said, beyond the money, the challenge behind conquering a video game is irresistible and that frustration could be traced back to everyone's first experience with an arcade game.
"You had to be able to go up to an arcade machine and learn how to play it in 10 seconds or less, right?" Bachrach said. "But you could never master it. That's an incredible thing."
"I'm 51 years old, and I can tell you that, 40 years later, I'm pretty good at Pac-Man, but I still haven't mastered it. And it's just as addictive."
Bachrach called the desire to want to keep trying at something we fail "natural."
"As humans, we always want to try to be better, so whether it's in business or whether it's in sports or whether it's in an arcade game or anything else, you know, there's this competitive nature of who we are, that we all want to succeed," Bachrach said.
He said that same drive applies to playing video games in particular.
"Gaming that's coming out today is fantastic," Bachrach said. "It's multi-dimensional. It requires a lot of skillset, not only from a physical attribute in terms of being able to move your hands a certain way, but actually looking and forward-thinking."
Bachrach said video games drive a great deal of innovation in the brain, and he anticipates that set of skills to be used in the workplace, even if it doesn't lead to a professional gaming career.