Growth of e-sports industry pushes parents to hire video game coaches for kids
Published Friday, August 17, 2018 10:34AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 17, 2018 10:57AM EDT
As competitive video gaming, or e-sports, has moved from the fringes to the mainstream, parents are paying coaches to teach their children how to improve their video gaming skills and gain an edge over their opponents.
Nicolai Larsen is one of the coaches parents turn to when they worry that their kids – some as young as 10 years old – are falling behind.
“We take a look at their game play, we take a look at their strategy and the way they approach these games, and then we just do coaching,” he told CTV’s Your Morning. “It sounds simple because it kind of is simple.”
The worldwide gaming industry is expected to rake in close to US$140 billion this year, according to Newzoo, a research firm that focuses on the gaming industry. The Entertainment Software Association of Canada says that 19 million people in Canada are gamers, and 52 per cent of them are male.
Championship e-sport matches routinely sell out massive arenas such as Madison Square Gardens and draw online crowds much larger than those enjoyed by more traditional sports. Some winners take home as much as $100 million in prize money.
Sports teams, television broadcasters and advertising firms have poured money into e-sports in order to attract young and digitally savvy audiences, and colleges are even offering competitive video gaming scholarships to skilled students.
The money now involved in the industry makes competitive video games appear “more legitimate” than they once did, Larsen said.
His techniques, he added, are influenced by traditional coaching methods and academic studies.
“Why reinvent the wheel when we can steal from the sports world?” he asked.
Larsen said that he also offers video game boot camps for parents, where he teaches them how to play popular games like “Fortnite” and “League of Legends.” At the end of the course, parents invite their kids along to play with them.
It’s not just the prize money or college scholarships that may ensure coaches like Larsen are employed well into the future.
This month’s Asian Games, the second-largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games, will feature e-sports as a demonstration sport for the first time. The International Olympic Committee is considering making them a medal sport in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024.