I’m a 90s kid. I grew up during the SNES, SEGA and N64 era. I witnessed the birth and death of many consoles, and observed the stigma around video games from before the turn of the millennia. It’s difficult for people to understand what they can’t see (like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny). All joking aside, the world we are born into has a tremendous impact on what we do and why we do it.
The Shepherd and the Sheep
People are like sheep because they blindly follow a person or ideology. They allow themselves to be herded into a complementary mindset as everyone else around them. The goal is to have people regurgitate the information on command. It creates an illusion of free will. The takeaway for people is a complete lack of independent thought and critical thinking. These people are turned into sheep because they lack the ability to self-assess. We call them: Sheeple.
It’s not necessarily their faults either. In order to live a successful life those are the rules they’re told to follow. You all know how the shepherd’s speech goes: go to school, get good grades, get a job, go to college, graduate, and then work in the field you majored in. It’s the system we’re told to follow throughout our childhood, into adolescence and even as young adults.
When that’s finished and things still aren’t working out the answer is to go back to school. Rarely, if ever, is the answer to go to a trade school, take some time off to mature and figure out what you want, or the worst of all, being told what you want to do isn’t a real job. That’s where video games and the industry as a whole comes in. Video games are seen as a hobby, a side project, just something for your free time. Parents, relatives and older generations from around the world still say this. They just don’t see the video game industry as something legitimate for pursuing a career.
Nothing is Black or White
I’ve come to learn that nothing in life is black or white. There’s no universal rule book, no set criteria, and no surefire means to success. No job is unobtainable, and if you really want something the key is to be persistent and work your tail off. I went to college, I graduated, and I became a gainfully employed member of society. One year in I realized what I really wanted to do. I wanted to write, I wanted to play video games, and I wanted to figure out how to do both for a paycheck.
No matter what your end goal may be, there’s something that motivates most people – money. We all need it, and the more of it we have the more comfortable we can live. So I ventured out to get a better grasp of the industry as a whole. I needed to know, with concrete evidence, that video games could benefit my bank account. Much to my own satisfaction, the video game industry has strong numbers backing it up.
In the United States, the video game industry was worth $23.5B in 2015. Globally, in the same year, that number leapt to $91.5B. For comparison purposes, the global box office revenue from the film industry in 2015 was $38.3B. In the US, box office revenue only amassed $11.1B. This isn’t to say that video games are better than movies, it’s to prove that an industry under the perception by many as being a mere hobby has serious financial backing.
Follow Your Passion
Whether you’re old or young, you’ve heard the phrase “Follow the yellow brick road.” The phrase embodies the idea of doing something with the belief that good things will come from your actions. At some point everyone needs to take a leap of faith. I’m here to say that if that leap includes the video game industry – go for it.
Video games are far from peaking in both financial and entertainment regards. In fact, video games are on the brink of some truly magnificent breakthroughs with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), cross-platform play, and cross-network play right around the corner. In the not too distant but far enough away that I’ll probably have children future, I’m positive someone will create Gene Roddenberry’s HoloDeck from Star Trek, along with other tremendous technological innovations.
Platforms such as Twitch provide an easy-to-use streaming service that’s brought in an entirely new way to ingest video games and entertainment together. The annual conventions and events are getting bigger, opening their doors to more guests and attracting attention from other industries. The eSports scene is being covered by ESPN, and celebrities are sponsoring teams as new investment opportunities.
We’re on the horizon of a new dawn. It’s the beginning of an age with the video game stigma lifted, an end to console wars, and an influx of new fans. eSports arenas will soon pop up in more markets across the world. Classrooms may incorporate lessons inspired by gaming through the soon-to-be available VR and AR technologies. With more young children having access to technology at younger and younger ages, digital entertainment and platforms are only on the rise. Video games will continue to flourish in the entertainment sector for years to come.
Video games aren’t just games anymore. Video games are a culture and a booming industry riddled with excellent job opportunities and an extremely bright future. Whether you want to write stories, interview developers, design the games, handle marketing campaigns, create cosplays, or simply play for fun, the world of video games has a niche for you.