2020 has been quite the year for everyone. The pandemic has brought on frustration, stress, uncertainty, and much more for most. But along with the chaos this year, some positives can be found. Adaptation, innovation, and creativity can be seen around the world especially, in the gaming industry. It makes sense with the recent switch to remote work across the world that the gaming industry would thrive even more. People are home and need to be entertained. Gaming is one of the easiest ways to fill that need while staying safe and practicing social distancing.
How has the gaming industry adapted? Well for starters, Twitch is not the only streaming platform worth considering anymore. Facebook Gaming launched its platform in April this year and was shortly followed by YouTube Gaming which launched in August 2020. Even Twitch Prime was relaunched and rebranded as Prime Gaming in August this year as well. It is not a coincidence Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube all decided it was worth getting “their piece of the pie” in gaming. Why not, right? No one knows what the future holds but any products or services that can be used at home seem to be a great place to invest.
The pandemic has not been the only reason gaming has become more “mainstream” recently. To be honest, it has been a long time coming. When most Baby Boomers think of video games a combination of arcade and Nintendo games come to mind such as Pac-Man, Mario Kart, and Donkey Kong. While those are all classics, times have evolved. It can be hard to explain to the non-gamer how advanced games are today besides the vastly improved graphics. There are a lot of games today that have different characters, with various abilities, working with multiple team members trying to accomplish a goal. AKA: LOTS of moving pieces. And to top it off, having precise aim is key to being competitive in any way. To be competitive in any first-person shooter (FPS) or Battle Royale game these days, requires hours and hours of practice and for many, it can be a full-time job. A naturally coordinated person will not succeed in the industry by merely picking up a controller or sitting down at a PC. Fast reflexes, exact aim, clear communication, and a great gameplay mindset are just the basic requirements to reach a level where one is qualifying for tournaments. Some of these tournaments’ cash prizes are worth the grind though.
However, someone might feel about the game, Fortnite, they cannot deny this game played a key role in making gaming more appealing to the non-gamer world in the past 3 years. Fortnite Battle Royale launched in 2017 made by Epic Games but beyond having a game that went viral, they invested over $100 million in cash prizes in 2019 for tournament winnings. While other games such as Dota, Counterstrike, and League of Legends have given out a lot of prize money as well, those winnings have been spread across a much bigger timeline and from thousands of tournaments. Fortnite caught the attention of younger viewers and inspired a whole new generation to join the gaming community. Suddenly, “Cinderella” stories were becoming a reality for kids like Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, who at 16 years old won $3 million at the Fortnite World Cup in 2019. For comparison, having such high single tournament winnings has put gaming on the same financial level as professional tennis players winning the U.S. Open.
Don’t think becoming that successful in video game tournaments sounds realistic? Well becoming a content creator on streaming platforms does not require someone to be the best at the game or even top 100 for them to become a full-time gamer. Advancements in technology have allowed the gaming community to connect and interact on a whole new level. It is no longer a far cry for a kid to want to grow up to become a professional video game streamer and be significantly more financially successful than their parents. Whether you are as big as Ninja, who is raking in at LEAST hundreds of thousands a month from streaming, or you are still growing your community on your streaming platform trying to “make it” there is a place for everyone. Some have goals of financial freedom when they stream, while others are trying to find people to hang out with while they play games they enjoy. The possibilities are endless.
While the industry has been around for quite some time, in the past 5 years we are starting to see it become more accepted by the general population. With some of the largest companies in the world investing in the gaming industry, cash prizes soaring, and viewer counts exploding; gaming is here to stay.