The pandemic has turned even more people into gamers. About one in three people worldwide play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
But it’s more than just fun.
“And we've been able to make sure that we were producing things that not only brought people together in ways that made them enjoy the games, but connected them to each other because today 65% of people in America who play games play with other people,” said Stanley Pierre-Louis, President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association.
Video game popularity was already on the rise before COVID-19, supporting more than 425,000 jobs directly and indirectly related to the industry last year.
It generated more than 90 billion in economic output, according to the Entertainment Software Association impact report.
It includes jobs in engineering, coding, video game design, storyline and even professional players.
“What that's meant is that within schools, you now have esports scholarships and in fact there are over 200 varsity sports programs around the nation, creating new opportunities for people to play professionally,” said Pierre-Louis.
Education and jobs related to gaming can also lead to other opportunities outside the industry. The graphic design and visual elements that go into video games are as in demand in other fields.
“So, if you learn video game design, you're able to also help with airlines simulations and so it's creating opportunities across many sectors,” said Pierre-Louis.
Advancements rooted in the video game industry have found their way into other areas, including medical imaging and robotics, military training and simulation, and education.
Those directly employed by the video game industry make on average $121,000 a year.