Ally Hicks fretted over her 10-year-old son playing the hugely popular shoot-em-up videogame “Fortnite.” It wasn’t the violence or the amount of time she was worried about. It was the result. He wasn’t winning. So she hired him a coach. For about $50, Ms. Hicks purchased four hours of online lessons from a player she found through a freelance labor website.
Parents are also coming around to the fact that maybe video games are just like other sports:
Hiring a “Fortnite” coach for a child is no different than enlisting an expert to help a child excel at basketball or chess, parents say. Some sit in on lessons to make sure coaches are professional and that their children, well, level up.”
And, a lot of people do not know this, but colleges are now offering scholarships to kids who are good at Esports.
Going back to the WSJ article, that is exactly how Nick Mennen, a parent, sees it: as an investment:
Nick Mennen was happy to pay $20 an hour for his 12-year-old son, Noble, to take “Fortnite” lessons. The dad is already dreaming of a scholarship—or at least some tournament money.”
Last year Time wrote about how Youth Sports has turned into a $15 billion dollar industry. I can only imagine what that number will jump to once Esports is accounted for. It should exponentially grow with Esports joining the fray.
The popularity of watching other people play video games on Youtube is to see how the best players do it. If your kid is good at video games, would you “invest” in them by hiring a coach for them to get better? Personally, I’m all for it. I would enjoy playing it with them for one (don’t tell my wife), but more importantly, as long as their grades don’t suffer, I don’t see the downside in it. I have a ton of friends that spend thousands of dollars on their kids’ sports, so how is this any different? I do have one question though…where was all this when we were growing up? I swear I could’ve gotten a scholarship in Madden, NBA Live, or FIFA!
If you want to learn more about Fortnite itself, here is an excellent piece by my colleague Jason Lisk, where his teenage son breaks down how to wreck people in the game. (Editor’s note: he would probably take less than $40 to give lessons).