US video game makers brought in about $US2.6 billion in revenue back in 1996, but that number had skyrocketed to $US21 billion by 2013.
The video game industry has obviously seen explosive growth, and an ex-professional StarCraft player and current Twitch star named Sean Plott has a theory about why.
It all starts with accessibility.
In many ways, video games have democratized sports. Anyone, big or small, can join in and, with enough practice, compete with the best of them. That accessibility, Plott told Business Insider, is going to push video games and e-sports to become one of, if not “the predominant hobby in the world.”
“It is only natural for [the industry] to grow from here,” Plott said. “Accessibility drives traffic and growth in technology. That’s a proven trend in technology.”
For many kids, video games today are just more accessible than traditional sports.
“If you want to play soccer, you need a huge field,” Plott said. “If you want to play football, you need armour! If you want to play squash, you need a court. If you want to play a video game, all you need is a computer and an internet connection.”
Let’s say you like basketball, Plott explained. One day, you decide to watch one of the few games that makes it to national television. One of the more popular teams is on — the Cleveland Cavaliers — and you see Lebron James do an incredible dunk.
His dunk inspires you to play a game of pick-up basketball. To act on that desire, you must first find a basketball court at a park, change into gym clothes and sneakers, get a basketball, and, finally, convince a few friends to play.
If any of those things fall through — say your friends don’t want to play or the court at the park is occupied — you are out of luck, according to Plott.
Now compare that experience with playing the video game “League of Legends.” Any person with an internet connection could conceivably watch any professional match either live or on replay for free at any time via Twitch or YouTube.
Let’s say you decide to watch an incredible comeback victory by one of the best teams in the world, Counter Logic Gaming. Within minutes, you could download League of Legends, which is free, sign on, and immediately jump into a game with other people. Not only that, but you could also play with the champions Counter Logic plays with and, with enough practice, perform any of the maneuvers and moves that the team uses.
No matter how much practice you put into basketball, there isn’t a huge likelihood that you’ll ever be able to dunk like Lebron James.
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