Why Video Games Matter

By Oscar Carranza

When I was growing up, my mom didn’t see a point in spending hundreds of dollars for my siblings and I to have video games. In her opinion, it was a waste and it wouldn’t result in anything more than sitting in front of the television for hour.

My first system was the first PlayStation during a time when the Playstation 2 was already well established. I wouldn’t get a current generation console till the PlayStation 3’s release. But by no means was it all bad. Some of my favorite video games still hold a special place in my heart to this day; I played games on the PS1 like “Final Fantasy 7” and “Brave Fencer Musashi.” In high school, I realized video games offered more than a few hours of enjoyment. I would play some of my all-time favorite games on the PS3 like the “Kingdom Heart” series —my PS3 allowed for backwards compatibility —“The Last of Us”, “God of War,” and many more.

But I just couldn’t shake the idea that video games were nothing more than a hobby between work and school. My mom’s mentality was very implanted in me; even with my own money to buy the games and systems, I wanted the cost to not be steep.

Something clicked for me when I was perusing both English literature and journalism at Cal State Long Beach. I fell in love with literature, journalism, and video games because I love stories. It was there that I decided I would pursue the field of video game journalism. I heavily invested on all the skills and equipment that I would need: gaming PC, editing software, hardware, and more.

The video game industry is not an industry to sleep on. In 2018, the United States video game industry revenue was estimated to value $30.41 billion, according to an article posted by Newzoo. The global revenue was estimated to be nearly $138 billion, with that set to rise for 2019.

There are so many different avenues that the video game industry offers. YouTube’s most subscribed YouTuber Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, started his career doing gameplay videos of games like “Amnesia: The Dark Descent.” Now, Kjellberg’s channel with over 88 million subscribers.

There’s also the e-sports side of the industry, which can encompass so many fields like the players, managers, public relations specialists, on-air talent, and so many more roles, not to mention the huge amounts of money being invested in the competitive side of gaming. The 2018 League of Legends championship had 99.6 million viewers compared to Superbowl LIII’s 100.7 million. The prize pool for championship was $6 million.

That’s not even getting into the likes of the Indie scene within the industry. Titles like “Hollow Knight,” “Celeste,” and “Stardew Valley” were created by small groups of development teams that all went on to succeed massively. Companies like Team Meat, creators of “Super Meat Boy,” and Supergiant Games, creators of “Bastion,” have carved a corner for themselves in the massive industry.

With the large amount of success somehow people still see the industry as a joke. My eldest nephew, 14, decided he wanted to pursue video games in some shape or form as a career. I was excited to hear it because I have learned all the skills he would need: editing video and audio, scripting, producing, and more. However, his mom, my sister, thought it was a ridiculous idea.

The gaming industry is so vast with so many professions involved.

Do you like to draw? Become a video game art designer.

Are you a creative writer? Become a narrative designer.

Do you like to program? Become a video game programmer.

Do you like to play games? Become a content creator.

Do you like to host shows? Become an on-air talent for e-sports streaming.

The industry isn’t perfect, however, feeling very volatile at times. Blizzard Activision laid off 800 employees in February due to restructuring. Electronic Arts has a history of buying out companies and then closing studios. Not every game is a success and millions of dollars are on the line.

Even with all the negatives, I know that covering video games, releases, and industry news is the right fit for me. I encourage everyone to look past the stereotypes associated with the industry and look at all the possibilities.  Maybe the next generation can have an easier time than mine did.