It's the dream of every defiant kid in school who favors late nights on a gaming console rather than poring through textbooks.
In response to the teacher's contention that playing video games won't enable you to make a living, it is increasingly valid for that student to turn around and cite a succession of ways and games that have allowed people to profit from their skill. Of course, textbooks and homework have undoubted utility, but the point remains that more and more people are finding ways to financial comfort through video games.
Whether being rewarded for their ability or finding smart strategies to maximize the game, players are now able to combine the thrill of the virtual world with the monetary needs of the real world.
The growing popularity of eSports
There have been long-running debates about the validity of eSports as a legitimate sport, but there is no doubt over the financial rewards on offer to the best players. In fact, the sums available to be won can match the salaries of some of the world's top athletes. Pocket-Lint have compiled a list of the world's highest-earning eSports competitors, with top-ranked player Kuro Takhasomi having brought home well over $3 million in his career.
The growing popularity of eSports and its competitivity means that the prize winnings on offer are likely to veer into astronomical territory, with Forbes suggesting earlier in 2018 that eSports is on the verge of becoming a billion-dollar industry.
The League of Legends 2018 Mid-Season Invitational attracted a stunning 127 million viewers at its peak, which is larger than the population of Germany. Such popularity and financial incentives will surely end both the debates about if eSports should be considered a sport, and about if it is feasible to make a living from a career in gaming.
The benefits of online gaming
eSports are essentially an extension of console games with financial benefits, but there are other options for gamers who avoid the spotlight and intensity of eSport competitions. The innovation of blockchain could revolutionize casual gaming, giving players true ownership of their in-game items and loots.
Digital Trends explain how this could provide a pathway for dedicated players to optimize their gaming to capture prestigious weapons and artifacts before selling them on for a quick profit. Considering how invested players can be in the items in their inventory, if blockchain grants players a true sense of ownership, then its popularity is likely to swell over the next few years.
The best players' bank balance will likely rise as well, but there may be even quicker ways for online gamers to rake in huge sums in a short space of time. Online casinos can be overlooked as a viable method for financial gain because of their merging of the old and new, with traditional slot games available in virtual environments.
Yet there is scope to win big at the click of a button; one lucky player claimed a world-record jackpot of over £13 million with the Mega Moolah slot game from the online casino at Betway. What makes it even more staggering is that Jon Heywood, the overnight millionaire, only staked 25p to snap up his prize, with the progressive jackpot of some games allowing players to win life-changing amounts if they time their move appositely.
Mind your money
It is not just through virtual games that players can earn money through unconventional means. Mindsports such as chess and poker can be accessed online, but these classic games can also provide the focus for massive tournaments. Chess is notoriously difficult to master, but those who have can reap the rewards; grand-masters such as Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand have raked in sums in excess of $1 million in a calendar year.
Chess is certainly a game that many people know so well, sufficiently prominent in society to become the focus of a musical of the same name. Poker is traditionally more glamorous (you don't see James Bond playing chess), but offers equally enticing financial rewards. Victoria Coren Mitchell is a popular British quiz show host, most well-known for fronting the devilishly tricky Only Connect.
However, Coren Mitchell is a legend in the poker world, having become the first woman to win the European Poker Tour in 2006, and then the first person to win that prestigious tournament twice when she took home the title and £391932 in cash in 2014. With large stakes won and lost on a single hand, poker may be one of the more nerve-wracking ways to earn money but the lure of claiming the big prize keeps tempting players to compete.