That’s what I used to tell my 9-year old son until guys like Ninja came along and changed the game. I was mistaken and worse, a little bit of a hypocrite.
I’m a Gamer
The truth is I have been playing video games for 47 years. Not something until recently that I would have ever admitted. I got hooked early. The first console I played on was the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972; then it was Atari Pong in 1975, followed by Intellivision in 1979. Later in the ’80s, it was all about Nintendo until the Sega Genesis came out. The ’90s brought more realism with incredible graphics in the 64-bit consoles like the Sony Playstation. And before the end of 2001, Microsoft entered the console market with the Xbox.
Making a living playing video games didn’t exist when I was growing up. Even now, it’s a risky venture at best, but the internet has created a slew of opportunities to generate income playing video games, if you have the talent and drive. Like my son, most kids know how much top gamers like Ninja make – how much you ask? How about $18 Million a year! How? Ninja earns $500,000 a month from YouTube. He receives $550,000 five a month from Twitch and $3.5 million a year from endorsements. This brings his total to $16.1 million, and if you include merchandise and ad revenue, his estimated annual pay comes to an eye-popping $18 million per year.
Making this kind of money isn’t something that will happen for everyone who games; in fact, you’d probably have better odds playing the lottery. It took Ninja a decade + of grinding to get where he is now. And as I tell my son, he got good grades in High School and worked a regular job before he gamed full-time. It wasn’t until March 15, 2018 when Ninja and Drake played Fortnite that he skyrocketed to the position he has now and gaming truly became mainstream.
The Marketer / Father
As the CEO of a sports marketing consultancy, gaming has taken on a whole new meaning for me; and its called eSports. eSports describes the world of competitive, organized video gaming. These gamers are watched and followed by millions of fans all over the world, who attend live events or tune in on TV or online. Streaming services like Twitch and YouTube allow viewers to watch as their favorite gamers play in real-time, and this is where popular gamers build up their followers.
As a marketer, I want eyeballs (audience). So how many people actually watch eSports? A TON! When Drake and Ninja played Fortnite for the first time in 2018 they had 628,000 concurrent viewers watching them on Twitch! Globally, according to Newzoo, 380 million people watched eSports last year. Those are huge audiences that only look to be growing.
As a father, I want moderation. As a marketer, I want more. I guess I’m still a little bit of a hypocrite when it comes to video games.