Two decades ago, the idea of being a professional or competitive video game player was something that didn’t exist outside of the occasional fictional universe. Today, though, competitive gaming is something that skilled players can build a career out of. If you’re good at games like Hearthstone, Overwatch, Fortnite or other competitive games, there is a market out there for your skills. Japan is working on taking it to the next level, opening the world’s first esports gym to help competitive gamers hone their skills.
The Basics of Competitive Gaming
If you’re not familiar with it, how does competitive gaming work?
eSport, short for electronic sports, is a blanket term for anyone playing a video game competitively. There are probably as many eSports leagues as there are multiplayer video games, but some of the top games include things like:
- Rainbow Siege Six
- League of Legends
- Dota 2
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The total prize pools for the top eSports games can total in the millions, but if you hope to get yourself a piece of that pie, you need to be the best of the best. Practicing on your own is one way to hone your skills but when you’ve hit a plateau, sometimes you need some professional help.
The eSports Gym
Japan just opened its first eSports gym in Tokyo where gamers can book three-hour time slots and hone their skills on professional systems For an additional fee, these aspiring competitive gamers can hire professional coaches to help them break through a plateau and become the gamer that they’ve always dreamed of being.
Japan isn’t the first country to tap into a growing eSports market. Singapore and South Korea have both opened similar gyms. As a whole, the global eSports industry stands to grow to more than $1 billion in 2021.
More than Just a Game
In addition to turning gaming into a career, video games are quickly becoming a valuable tool for information retention in school settings as well.
Most of us have memories of playing games like Oregon Trail during our formative years. Those games, while basic, delivered information in a unique and fun way that sticks with us to this day. Game and simulation-based learning are just as popular today, with kids who grew up in the digital era used to having a controller in their hands or a keyboard under their fingers from a very young age.
These gyms could become the norm across all countries in the near future, with competitive eSports training being the starting point. Eventually, we may even see similar gaming facilities focus on other aspects of learning for students, developers, video game streamers, and more.
Looking Toward the Future
A career as a professional gamer isn’t an easy one to obtain or maintain once you’ve gotten your foot in the door. Don’t look down on it though — if they can make their way into the professional circuits for some of the top games, the prize pools are nothing to sneeze at.
eSports will likely continue to grow in the coming years as well, providing skilled players with a way to turn their hobby into a career.