COLORADO SPRINGS — As people look for new opportunities to rebound from the pandemic, News5 is taking a deep dive into Colorado's video game industry that has leveled up despite the challenges. Recent research shows this industry is thriving close to home in Colorado.
Growing up, a lot of kids were told to put down the video games and to go do something productive. Well it turns out, during the pandemic, that love for video games is now leading to scholarship money, STEM career paths, and even six-figure salary dream jobs.
The success of video games can be found in Colorado Springs. Colorado College has one of the three Esports programs in the state. Students on the Esports team play video games, competing with other students across the country providing exposure within the industry, but also the potential to earn scholarship money to put toward their tuition.
News5 spoke with Colorado College Esports Coordinator Josh Lauer. He took his love for video games as a recent Colorado College graduate and turned it into a dream job at one of the top colleges in our state.
"I found another avenue and a way I could combine some nice logistical skills with video games. Those are avenues you can find in a lot of spaces, especially right now with e-sports taking off. The collegiate area itself is stil very new and there are positions popping up all over the place," said Lauer.
The Entertainment Software Association just released some research on the impact of the video game industry nationwide and right here in Colorado.
More than 4,300 jobs are supported by the industry in our state leading to an economic impact of more than $1 Billion.
"People have been looking for ways of escaping this social isolation that they've been facing and being able to play games is a great escape. Also, being able to play with other people that's really fueled the growth of the industry," said ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis.
And there's no denying a career in this field is meaningful. The average salary in this industry is more than $121,000 a year.
"It's led people into careers related to STEM like coding, which is very important for a software industry like ours," said Pierre-Louis. "Also,when you look at the modern video game with all of the musical scores and all of the story-lines, there are lots of different creative talents that you need to make the modern video game and to connect people with one another."
At Colorado College, Lauer hopes his testimony and the research will help to open more eyes about the video game industry and the opportunities it provides.
"So again, I really encourage parents, or people that are skeptical to look into it a little bit more and you'll find more and more similarities to what we view traditionally as a sport and what the newer generation views as another way to be competitive," said Lauer.
With the impact of the pandemic many of the video game industry jobs are now remote. So, right now you can pursue opportunities around the globe from your home office.
If you are curious about companies in Colorado that might be hiring and where there are Esports programs visit: https://www.theesa.com/video-game-impact-map/state/colorado/