Gaming: A Waste of Time or a Career Path?

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Gaming has long been a subject of contention among parents and their kids. More and more teens and young adults are pursuing gaming as a potential career path with the rise in popularity of esports, game publishers enforcing minimum salary on teams, as well as the rise of live streaming, and more.

This article is sponsored by BetterHelp

However, the industry hitting new highs does not necessarily make it any easier for a parent to grasp the concept that gaming can actually be productive. A lot of older people still think gaming is a waste of time or something to do sparingly for leisure. So, it may come as a shock when a child tells them they want to play video games for a living.

Parents usually want to support their children’s choices, but it can be hard to do so if you truly believe that they are pursuing a waste of time as a way to make money. While this article covers some potential benefits to playing video games and how to support a child’s or teen’s decision to make a career out of gaming, you can also find some great parenting resources at

Can Gaming Be a Good Thing?

While gaming so much that it causes a loss of sleep, the avoidance of social interaction, or the inability to study can negatively impact well-being, there are definitely some positive things about gaming as well. 

Research shows that there can be benefits to several aspects of a child’s development and livelihood. Playing multiplayer games can help to foster teamwork and cooperation. This can be an important skill to learn for success throughout a person’s life. It can also be a way to participate in healthy competition.

In addition, there is some evidence that suggests that gaming may help to improve test scores and grades in some subjects including math and reading. While this may not be the case for every genre of video game, there seems to be a correlation with puzzle and strategy games. One of the most popular multiplayer genres, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena involves a lot of pre-game theorycrafting, somewhat similar to creating and executing your plan in the good old days of Warcraft III.

A lot of video games can also boost creativity. When you are simultaneously keeping track of an intricate storyline and trying to survive the level or situation, you learn to multitask as well. In addition, children sometimes have difficulty focusing on things for a prolonged period of the time. However, with video games, they enjoy focusing on the creative aspects, strategies, and more. In turn, their focus behaviors may improve

A lot of games require significant problem-solving skills and techniques in order to remain competitive. This can also be a crucial skill to learn and develop that could help a child or teen to be successful in the future. Games also train reflexes and hand-eye coordination, which can help with growth and development. 

Finally, research seems to show that gaming can increase brain flexibility. This is great for growth and development. This can keep a person’s cognitive function from deteriorating and allow for better learning and growth into the future. 

How to Support Your Teen’s Gaming Hobby, Even as a Career Choice

While it may not seem like a viable or realistic career choice to many parents, it is still important to support your child in their pursuits. One thing that is important to understanding the ability to make money with esports or other aspects of gaming is knowledge. Be sure to research different gaming career paths and see what the potential income and required skills are. This can help you see what a younger person sees so that you can support them in their efforts. 

You may find that teens often begin to pursue their career and make good money. This can also develop into other careers within the esports and gaming communities, even if they do not remain competitive after their 20s. There are tons of opportunities and there does not seem to be an end in sight as the industry progresses and grows rapidly. Some games enable players to win life-changing money in just one tournament (see 16-year-old Kyle Giersdorf earning $3M for winning the 2018 Fortnite World Championship), while others focus on longevity (e.g. League of Legends Championship Series guaranteeing a minimum salary of $75,000)

While it is important to support your child’s decisions and dreams, it is also important for you to keep them realistic. If it was always easy to make a living playing games, everyone would probably be doing it. While your child or teen could certainly have the necessary skills to do so, it is also a good idea to encourage them to have alternate plans and pursue other meaningful ways to make money. This ensures that they do not put all their eggs in one basket that could crash and burn if they find that they do not have what it takes. 

Also, if you are interested in boosting the positive aspects of gaming, then you should encourage them to switch up the types of games that they play. While they may only be interested in pursuing a career in one game or genre, it can help them with problem-solving, creativity, and more if they switch up genres. Switching it up could also help them relax when they are not participating in a competitive, action-packing gaming experience. Pro players do that, too, for both leisure and career. Young-jin “Gamsu” Noh has been a decent quality in both Overwatch (First-Person Shooter) and League of Legends (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena).

Finally, too much screen time is never a good thing. It can interfere with the ability to function as well as impact normal sleeping habits. It is entirely possible to support your child’s pursuits in esports without allowing them to play games every hour of the day. The industry has been taking steps to protect teens in that regard. Most game publishers require players to turn 16 before they can compete, and in some cases enforce different age limits between development and professional leagues.


The gaming industry is booming, and more and more kids and teenagers are deciding that they want to pursue esports or other aspects of gaming as a viable career option. This often comes as a surprise to parents who may feel that they are wasting their time with these dreams. However, it is entirely possible to make money gaming and a child needs the support of his parents, who may not understand the gaming industry or the benefits that gaming can offer.

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-
related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health
resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with
mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


Is gaming a sustainable career path?

It can be one, similarly to traditional sports. Players get to make a pretty high salary in late teens and twenties as well as earn tournament winnings. When the new generation comes knocking, there are plenty of industry jobs to transition to.

What are the salaries like in esports?

It depends on the game that tournaments are held in: some tournament structures emphasize prize winnnings much more than salaries. As far as stable income goes, North American LCS (premier League of Legends competition) reportedly boasted an average salary of $410,000 in 2020.

What esports tournament had the biggest prize pool?

The International 10 in Dota 2, recently rescheduled for October 2021, has a prize pool of $40,018,195.

by Marie Miguel
October 01, 2021


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