If you think your kids are spending too much time playing video games on their PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PC or PSP (Playstation Portable) consoles then you may have a reason to be concerned, but not worried. Before you tell your child to put down the game remote and pick up a text book you should consider this fact; there is a professional video game circuit out there with professional gamers who earn thousands, even millions of dollars.
South Korea has a genuine passion for playing video games. This is a video game obsessed nation. The electronic gaming events in this country can draw up to 100,000 spectators at a single event. Their cyber-athletes make hundreds of thousands of dollars playing in tournaments that are televised nationwide. Some of them are so popular they cannot go out in public without body guards to shield them from adoring fans. They even date movie stars and get their faces on the covers of newspapers and magazines.
Recently there was an electronic gaming tournament held in Seoul, South Korea at Jamsil Indoor Stadium. This event was the equivalent of our Superbowl. The game of choice for this event was “StarCraft”, which is a web game that is played on PCs. This event was nationally televised and broadcast on the Internet. The audience of 1.78 million who viewed it on television and online were glued to their seats as they watched the daylong event unfold. They came to watch the most popular gamer in their country strut his stuff.
His name is Lim Yo-hwan, he is 27 years old and he is the Mick Jagger of e-sports in South Korea. This young man has made quite a name for himself playing “StarCraft”, the only game that matters on the video game circuit in this country. His fans wanted to see him put on a show, and he did, winning the event easily with a take home prize of $20,000. Lim Yo-hwan has won many of these events in recent years and this has put his income in the six figure category. Not bad for playing video games.
The United States has some Superstar cyber-athletes too who make a very good living on the electronic gaming circuit. The brightest star in this country is a 26 year old man named Johnathan Wendel, otherwise known to his fans as Fatal1ty (his screen name). He lives in Kansas City, Missouri but his reputation lives all over the world.
Johnathan became a professional gamer at the age of 19, and in the past seven years he has won 41 major e-sports video game tournaments. He has won more electronic gaming competitions than anyone else in America. Johnathan has also done very well financially, winning over $450,000 in prize money.
Johnathan Wendel has traveled all over the world playing in video game tournaments. To date he has played on every continent except Antarctica. These tournaments have been held at some very interesting, unique and famous places including the Great Wall Of China and Moscow’s Red Square, so the idea of holding one in Antarctica some day may be not be so far-fetched.
Everywhere Johnathan goes he is swarmed by fans who just love the way he plays video games. All of his expenses are paid when he travels and he lives like a rock star. With world championships in five different video games, Johnathan is considered by most in his sport to be the best in the world. No other gamer has even come close to matching his accomplishments.
In November of 2006 Johnathan Wendel defeated his biggest nemesis and won the world championship for his fifth video game (“PainKiller”), and in doing so he took home a prize check for $150,000. He defeated the reigning world champion for that game, a 20 year old man from Holland that goes by the screen name Vo0.
Johnathan is becoming more and more popular every day as he continues to shine as a Superstar in the world of professional gamers. He is a force to be reckoned with in the Cyberathlete Professional League. He has recently launched a line of “Fatal1ty” products that include such things as mouse pads, headsets and keyboards that are made specifically for playing video games. He has a marketing Guru named Mark Walden working with him and both expect to make millions of dollars selling these products to gamers worldwide.
The video gaming industry is expected to make $30 billion dollars this year selling video games and consoles for products like Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PSP. This is an enormous amount of money that is more than twice the yearly grosses of the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball combined. With this kind of money involved and hundreds of millions of people playing video games all over the world the sport of professional video gaming is starting to attract major advertising sponsors and merchandising companies.
Professional video gamers are no longer just kids who are wasting their time spending endless hours playing video games. Many of them have managed to transform a hobby into a lucrative career. There are hundred of thousands, and even millions of dollars being made these days by gamers who travel the world (all expenses paid) and live like rock stars.
So the next time you think your child is spending too much time playing Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC or PSP games you should not worry too much. If they show more than the average amount of interest in the sport of electronic gaming, try not to discourage them from playing video games. It is important for you to realize that they may not just be playing games when they sit down in front of their television or computer, they could also be training to be a world famous cyber-athlete millionaire.