A recent unpublished study found that a large number of young men between the ages of 21 and 30 are forgoing work in order to stay home and play video games.
The study has found that more men are working part-time, or not at all, and dedicating their free time to video games than used to do so. One in five men in this age range is underemployed or not employed. The point of the study is that these men are choosing to enjoy their time instead of working, but you’d be hard pressed to find an article that really investigates why that is.
There are many reasons that men in this age group might not be working. These men mostly don’t have college degrees, and a lot of people who do have degree are underemployed in service sector jobs.
One aspect that the study touched on is that video games are more rewarding than regular jobs because few of the jobs available to these young men seem to be rewarding beyond putting cash in one’s pocket.
“When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded,” says 22-year-old Danny Izquerdo. “With a job, it’s always up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.”
There is another consideration too: What if playing video games is the job? A visit to YouTube will show thousands of people who play games, record video of it, and make a living doing so. It’s actually the entire point of the video-sharing site Twitch.tv.
It is actually possible to make a living playing video games. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme; it requires effort and no small amount of drudgery, especially for people whose job is to play-test video games. In fact, according to a MakeUseOf article, “quitting your job or dropping out of school and diving head-first into the video game economy is not recommended.”
Surprisingly, the video game economy is highly competitive and it requires a lot of work to even be able to supplement your income with video game journalism or play-testing. However, it could be a valuable second income for people with low-paying service sector jobs.
Could employers promote a video game-type reward system to their employees? Technology theorist Tom Chatfield suggests setting “calibrated targets” for employees and employ a “grand underlying reward and incentive system” and encourage group collaboration.
“[I]f we can look at these things and learn from them and see how to turn them outwards, then I really think we have something quite revolutionary on our hands,” Chatfield says.