Don't be too hard on a kid playing video games for hours on end. He or she may be working toward a very lucrative career.
Video gaming is making some young people very very rich. One of the most successful gamers, a guy who goes by the online name "PewDiePie" earns an estimated $7 million dollars a year playing games like "League of Legends". He's 26 years old.
"A professional esports player in the world today makes as much as any major athlete in any major sport," says Robert Rippee the director of a new esports lab at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
"We're going to explore the concepts around esports and how to integrate them into here, you know, the large casino environment."
UNLV is one of many colleges and universities adding esports to campus life, whether that's in courses or sanctioned teams. Robert Morris University is offering scholarships to video game players after it added esports to the athletic program along with football and basketball.
Rippee told me that globally, esports and video games in particular are bigger spectator sports than football or sports we play and watch in the United States. "Some of those tournaments attact hundreds of thousands of viewers," he said. One "League of Legends" tournaments was held in Seoul South Korea. "They played it in a soccer stadium that sat 88,000 people, they sold out," Rippee said. "They sold out for people to watch 10 people play video games. Can you imagine that?"
Video gamers can go on to successful careers as video game developers while others find jobs simply playing the games before a company decides to release them. Sort of like the Tom Hanks character in the movie "Big.
At UNLV Rippee said the esports lab will blend computer science, business school, playing computer games and sociology and psychology," he explained.
"That's what we're beginning to explore is where are the economics and what is the business model for this?"