The times when videogames were a pastime for a few gamers are long gone, and today they have come to form a genuine cultural industry. In fact, according to the results of a a survey of the videogame industry worldwide by New Zoo, they are now one of the most important leisure activities around the world. In 2016, the industry made 99,600 million dollars, consolidating a period of sustained growth that started in 2010.
The spread of videogames in our society also means that that the number of jobs generated by this industry is increasing as well. This effect can be felt in a number of ways. Skilled workers from different backgrounds are needed to develop a videogame. In the early days, all you needed was a group of creative programmers, but today you need scriptwriters, designers, actors and even specialists in monetizing your game.
This is the reason why Barcelona Games World (BGW), the videogames fair organized jointly by the Spanish Videogame Association (Asociación Española de Videojuegos – AEVI) and Fira de Barcelona, which was held with great success during the first week of October, dedicated an area to education, in which different universities presented their training programmes in this field, at both graduate and post-graduate level, in relation with videogames, explaining to visitors the courses and materials they offer, and the professional options they lead to.
For teachers, however, videogames are more than just a professional option, they are also a vehicle for education. This is why BGW chose to support innovation in education through a special programme of workshops and conferences to promote the use and development of videogames for teaching. The key areas were gamification in schools, education in the period 2030-2050 and the professions of the future.
Gamer, a profession for the future
The growing level of professionalization in videogame tournaments has led to the emergence of a new elite sports person: the professional gamer. The decision of many television channels to show eSports competitions live has transformed a domestic leisure activity into a professional discipline with million-dollar prizes and ever greater competitiveness.
Professional gamers are recognised and idolised in a similar way to other elite sports professionals, and can earn incomes to match them as well. The different rankings of the best professional gamers can change occasionally in terms of their income accumulated in recent years, but many of the names remain the same:
- Lee “Faker” Sang Hyeok (League of Legends) – $ 479.762,21
- Jang “MC” Min Chul (Starcraft II) – $ 501.436,49
- Lee “Jaedong” Jae Dong (Starcraft: Brood War) – $ 604.871,05
- Carlos “Ocelote” Rodríguez, l’únic espanyol del top 10, (World of Warcraft) – $ 900,000
- Peter “PPD” Dáger (Defense of the Ancients 2) – $ 1.985.992,36
The recognition of these elite sports personalities began in 2013 when the North American government began to issue athlete visas (P1 Visa) to professional gamers albeit neither in an automatic or general way. What is more, last February, the International eSports Federation (IeSF) formally requested recognition from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) as an Olympic event.