“Stop wasting time playing games and go do something else.” This is the most often phrase I heard from my friends’ parents. In those scenarios, the act of gaming is being oversimplified to “wasting time.” Many parents from the last decades throughout the world, especially in Asian societies equate gaming to losers. In fact, they are not completely wrong.
Game industries aim to create the most addictive game in order to attract more games which means more profit. They often use models to find the balance between the difficulty of the game and the reward given to the player to lead players to be more addicted, according to Jane McGonigal’s book “The Reality is Broken: Why Games Makes Us Better.”
It is nearly impossible for someone born in the digital era to not have tried any form of games (Board games, console games, mobile games, pc games, etc.). But is it really “wasting time.” I rather view it as a type of entertainment for this generation with the simple switch from playing sports to playing games.
While I recognize that playing games is essentially not physically healthy compared to doing sports, merely categorizing games as “for losers” based on that is not justified.
For example, when many parents’ major concern about gaming is that it often leads to low income with excessive payment for digital products, they often ignore something like the 2019 Dota world championships which has a prize pool of $34.33 million. Furthermore, for League of Legends, one of the most popular MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battleground Arena) games in the world, professional players in the LPL (Tencent League of Legends Pro League), as revealed by JDG, one of the LPL teams, can have a salary ranged from 500,000 to 10,000,000 yuan which is significantly higher than a majority of Chinese workers.
Not only would the earnings make a gamer be optimistic about that occupation, but the global influence of games would also make a gamer pursuit their dream. In 2018, League of Legends was chosen as one of the sports to be played at the Asiad, a tournament held every four years which includes countries from all over Asia. For those who purely enjoy games and do not wish to play competitively, streaming on video platforms, such as Twitch, seems like another viable option.
Nonetheless, it eventually comes down to the question that if hobbies became professions, are they still going to be as enjoyable? Imagine if you were a professional or streamer for games. You have to play a game for over 360 days and for over 8 hours a day.
Some may say “Sure, I really like that game”. But out of the 360 days and 8 hours, if you were to practice, and not just play, practicing the same movements, tactics, will you still be able to maintain your passion?
As a league of legends professional player, Showmaker, one of the players in the champion team for the Summoner’s Cup (the hardest tournament to win in all league of legends series), has mentioned that he no longer feels happiness while playing league of legends. Ultimately, gaming is just identical to all the other hobbies a person can have, thus it inevitably is also constrained by the same shackle: time, which ebbs people’s passion.