Making a Career out of Gaming

An old piece of wisdom that I try to live my life by is this: do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.  I'm lucky enough to work an amazing day job as a systems engineer.  It pays well and allows a tremendous amount of creativity and room to learn and grow.  I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am.  However when I take a moment out of any busy given day and shut my office door to sit in the quiet and ask myself if I'm doing what I love, the answer is always no.  This doesn't mean I don't enjoy the work or the hustle, it just means my heart is elsewhere.  The passions that really drive me as a person are all manifested in LAN Mob, and not a day goes by where I wish I couldn't be devoting more of my time to it.

We're all on different paths in life, and some people might discover their calling at a young age, and have the brainpower/finances/drive/support to reach their potential.  Many others don't know their true calling, or have other commitments more important to them - family, loved ones - that causes them to remain rooted.  Others will live their whole lives without ever really finding or matching that passion with their work.

The most important thing to know is that our passions can change throughout our lives as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us.  A high school graduate set to become a doctor can muddle through 8 years of medical school and suddenly realize in their mid-twenties - six months into their first job and several hundred thousand in student loan debt - that they're miserable and have made a terrible decision.  Likewise a person who doesn't appear to be on any discernible path could just be working through life in their own way and suddenly come online later in life.  As long as we're always thinking about what impact we want to leave on this world, and making adjustments along the way to get there, the path we take to get there matters not.

LAN Mob in its current state is a tiny prototype LAN center - a proof of concept that I hope will lead to larger LAN Centers regionally.  But what purpose those centers will have is still a bit murky, even to me.  In a world of increasing automation I see gaming taking a more meaningful role in the leisure time we'll all have, but that is five or more years off, and there is career explosion happening today around video gaming.  I'll detail a few of those later in this post, but first wanted to address a sensitive point for me personally.

Every time I see somebody roll their eyes or shake their heads at the thought of serious careers spawning from video gaming, I cringe.  This is a multi-billion dollar behemoth, with careers in everything from journalism to programming to education, and a now (rightfully) recognized form of art.  This is a pioneer with endless possibilities that needs exploring, and people need to start respecting those that choose to pursue this path.  Just because it's new and doesn't have a degree or even course offered yet at your college doesn't make it any less worthy of a pursuit.  The first manned mission to Mars is expected in 2035, and it's likely one of those astronauts is today a kid standing in their living room playing around with an HTC Vive Space simulator, getting inspired.

With that out of the way: here are a list of careers that have spawned from the booming video game industry.  It's definitely possible that LAN Mob could grow to become a part of some or all of these, and just as likely that LAN Mob employees end up leveraging the experience and knowledge they've gained at the shop into future careers in the space.

Journalism - Numerous tech blogs, magazines & podcasts are dedicated to the genre.
E-sports - Organizers, leagues, competitors, fantasy.
Broadcasting - has made it easy for anyone to start.
Education - From early childhood to adult learners.  VR has cracked this field wide open.
Music - Soundtracks inspired by video game genres which are on par with cinema.
Programming - Behind every game is a team of hackers plugging away.
Voice Acting - Characters are brought to life and given depth.
Character Acting - Real-life actors movements digitized and transported into virtual worlds.
Art Direction - From concept art to 3D rendering.
Storytelling - A great story often makes a great game.

To close - one of my favorite closing scenes from Portal 2 that brings together all of the aspects of game design - from storytelling to music to art - in a beautiful way.

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