The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The new professional athletes?

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The mainstreaming of eSports and video games

The 2017 International eSports Tournament consisted of 18 teams from around the world, each with five players. Each member of the winning team went home with a shared $24,687,919.00.

If that is not enough to convince you that playing video games can be and is an actual profession let me introduce you to the world of online video game streaming.

Twitch is an app that allows elite video game players to stream in front of a collection of subscribers. It has become a craze among both casual gamers and dedicated players alike.

Tyler Blevins, who hundreds of thousands of gamers know as Ninja, has been collecting up to $350,000 a month based solely on Twitch subscriptions.

Blevins plays a game called Fortnite, created by EPIC games. The game can be played on a multitude of platforms including Xbox, Playstation, and PC. Fortnite Battle Royale, a last-man-standing shootout game, is the single most popular game in terms of monthly revenue and player population. The game has an estimated 45 million users.

The 26-year-old professional gamer, who receives millions of views per YouTube post, has the most followed Twitch channel with over 200,000 subscribers. On top of the Twitch subscriptions, his income revolves around advertisements for his stream and viewer donations. Yes, people will actually donate real money to him while he plays a video game.

Ninja, of course, is an exception.

There is a small window for a single person to stand out amongst the millions of gamers. Despite this, a generational shift has created tangible possibilities for people to make money playing video games. The eSports business is growing in preposterous magnitude, and the revenue potential seems to be endless. Kids used to grow up throwing a football or riding a bicycle; now they play video games.

Petitions for the addition of eSports in the 2024 Olympics have already surfaced. Ninja just recently held a live stream in which he played Fortnite with Drake, Travis Scott, and Pittsburgh Steeler Juju Smith Schuster.

It might seem strange to understand why someone would want to watch another play a game. There is an market for players with unparalleled level of talent. People love the best, thus they want to watch the best. It creates an opportunity to watch someone play a game that you play at the absolute highest level, and can also help you pick up some tricks or tips along the way.

There is also a personable aspect. Streamers can build relationships with their followers, as well as add their own commentary to the game. Speaking generally, the majority of people who watch streams and play video games intensely tend to be introverts. Streamers like Ninja create a fun and positive place for gamers to coincide within the game.

It is not impossible to think that in 10 to 20 years, eSports and the world of gaming will surpass professional sports.

As the world rapidly continues to become online-oriented, the focal point of popular sports will switch to online gaming. Not to mention that things like head injuries and long-term effects of rough sports are already threatening the idea of “is it really worth it?”

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