Fantasy gaming: better than having a job?

Fantasy gaming: better than having a job?

July 26, 2017 9:32 AM

Most of us have heard the statements already. “What are you going to do … play video games all your life?”

“You can’t make a living playing video games.”

“I bet you’re just sitting in your parent’s basement playing video games.”

There’s been a stigma about video games for a long time, and it’s not just a recent phenomena, though its impact is beginning to be felt more acutely in Western culture. Where the U.S. unemployment rate is at 16 year lows, what often gets ignored is the fact these numbers don’t account for the men and women who are of working age and who are simply no longer looking for work for one reason or another.

These numbers are generated to provide whatever political party is in power to have bragging rights to an improved economy -or, at the very least, to lay claim that how bad things are right now, they’re not really as bad as they are in reality. For example, in the U.S. in 2010 and 2011, the unemployment rate had been falling for a couple of years, according to analysis, and it hovered somewhere about 8 or 9 percent, depending on the region of the country in which the study was conducted. However, job participation among working aged men and women (18 to 65) was at ‘historic’ lows.

How could that be unless the unemployment figures were manipulated? They were and are, almost all the time. They simply ignore men and women who have given up and are not actively looking for work. They also drop off those who are no longer collecting unemployment payments and haven’t been looking for work.

So, the bottom line is this: whenever we see unemployment numbers for any demographic, we need to operate with the notion it’s even higher than what the government is reporting.

Some studies have indicated that workforce participation -sometimes regarded as a more accurate assessment of employment in any country- is barely higher than 51 percent in the U.S. According to a study by four economists -Mark Aguiar, Mark Bils, Kerwin Kofi Charles, and Erik Hurst- indicated that 15 percent of men in their 20s did not work a single week in 2016.

Let that soak in for a moment. 15 percent of men in their 20s didn’t work a single week in 2016. It’s staggering when one thinks about it.

When one considers how significant that is, one might wonder … why.

There are indications and arguments that stretch from the fact these men are socially castrated, feeling pushed out of traditional roles or that they’re more interested in playing fantasy video games and spending time with friends than working or that they simply can’t find employment to best utilize their unique skillset.

Some men argue that working is a futile effort, that the corporate promise of working up that ‘ladder’ is a farce and that they could never afford a house and will only be struggling to scrape by at the end of the day so why bother? It’s a lame response because every man or woman who started out with nothing and became successful had to put in long hours, dream big, and plan for their goals to be achieved long into the future.

Today’s younger generations seem to expect immediate gratification and when they don’t get it, they call it unfair, unbalanced, or not worth making the effort.

Yes, the arguments are numerous, but there is something to be said about fantasy gaming playing a role in this trend. It’s not like playing Royal Panda casino games, or any other casino games for that matter, that make it clear up front about the odds, and will still pay out something before long.

Many players simply want to escape reality.

The world has changed so dramatically in recent decades that some people simply can’t catch up. They would rather feel like a successful commander of an army than try to slog through a 9 to 5 job and work their way up some invisible corporate ladder.

Wouldn’t it be great if all of us could simply stay home, pop in a few of our favorite movies, and play some fantasy video games and imagine we were on some distant planet saving the world? Having that hero mentality can be fun, and when you get stuck there you have a tougher time finding or clawing your way back to reality.

With some fantasy video games, though, some have also bought into the idea that they can make money playing these games. They can earn items and then sell them to other players who are seeking a quicker shortcut to success in their own games. It sounds great, but when you draw back the curtain you can discover that the number of hours needed to be played in order to acquire these items means you’re earning pennies per hour.

That doesn’t cut it for those struggling in major metropolitan regions where the cost of living continues to skyrocket.

It seems, though, that few people are concerned.

Yes, there are economists, some parents, and others who are concerned about this trend among younger men mostly to turn their back on the working world in deference to fantasy video games, but who notices? Who really pays attention to the missing men from the workforce?

It’s a sad testimony to the fact that fewer men and women will ever make any real money playing fantasy games than who become rich playing professional sports, and what’s even more tragic is that the parents of these teens, 20-somethings, and even 30-somethings will simply continue on with their lives, letting their sons live at home still, and continue hoping they’ll someday figure out that they need to step into the real world before it’s too late.

However, at some point in time, reality will rear its ugly head and those video gamers may truly discover how ill-equipped they are to handle it. The longer somebody waits to start working, the harder it’s going to be for them to find success. By then, they’ll want to escape for good but won’t have the money to do so.

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