National

How gaming is becoming part of the American dream

The NBA Finals are underway. 

It's the best of the best leaving it all on the court for the chance at a championship.

But it's not the only way basketball is being played professionally here in the U.S. 

Some of these pros never leave the comfort of their chairs in what's increasingly becoming a more viable career path by the minute.

"With the first pick..."

That's NBA commissioner Adam Silver announcing the first pick in the draft.

But for a video game.

Scratch that, for a career.

Austin "Boo Painter", a player with Washington District Gaming, worked at the State Department until he didn't. 

"I started telling people at work, I was like 'well guys, I put my two weeks in,' they were like 'what?' Where are you going? You got another federal job or something?' I was like no, I'm going to play 2K for a living," he said.

And you can see how.

He's been making between $30,000 and $35,000 for six months, he gets his housing taken care of, all playing for the Washington Wizards' newest NBA addition -- the video game NBA 2K.

And he's not the only one turning what may consider a hobby into a viable career.

"For the younger audience this is their afternoon cartoons, this is their Nick at Nite, this is what they're tuning in for," said Kevin Lin, co-founder of Culture Strategy and Innovation.

Lin is the co-founder of Twitch, the popular streaming site that's helped turn ordinary basement gamers into bonafide celebrities.

"We've always played games but as part of our industry we were really not encouraged to talk about it. It wasn't cool," he said.

But it's turned into just the opposite.

Lin says on average, millions of people are tuning in for more than two hours a day with popular streamers making money off of ads, subscriptions, and even merchandising.

It's a prospect that's appealing in dorm rooms across America.

At the University of Maryland, Joel Yoo runs an organization of gamers who represent the school in tournaments nationwide, and he says they've collectively earned tens of thousands of dollars doing it.

"This is kind of the shoot for fame. People were aspiring to be the best basketball player, people aspire to be the best soccer player, they're now trying to the be the best E-sports players of today," said Yoo.

It's a thought that at one point might have ended in a room full of laughter.

But increasingly, not anymore.

"This is a very real thing and it's here to stay," Lin said.

WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:

>>MORE STORIES 


Bay Area News

Video Center

Latest News

Stay Connected

  • Download the free KRON4 News App
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.