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Average salary in video game industry is $120K, more than double the national average

Posted at 7:03 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 08:03:04-05

While some may not be fans of video games, there's no denying the industry is doing well -- even during a pandemic.

Stanley Pierre-Louis is the President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association or ESA. It's the trade association for the video game industry, which is doing more than fine during COVID-19.

"Today one in three people around the planet are playing video games. 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 but also being able to play with other people, that's really fueled the growth of the industry," said Pierre-Louis.

ESA just released its findings from last year. The report shows the video game industry supported 2,371 jobs in Wisconsin and had an economic impact of $335.1 million in our state.

The report also says the average salary in the video game industry $121,459, more than double the national average.

"It's led people into careers related to STEM like coding, which is very important for a software industry like ours. But 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," Pierre-Louis continued.

If you aren't making the games, you can play them for money. Esports is competitive video gaming and there are college programs across the country where students compete for scholarship money.

"We actually had a Fortnite team just on Saturday win $1,000 scholarship," said Lewis Smith. Smith is the esports director at Concordia University. He started the program in January of this year.

"They are video games that people can become incredibly skilled at," Smith said.

"There's not as much of a difference between esports and traditional sports as people think. If you take out the physical aspects of it, the idea of being an athlete or being able to run into each other and be able to get hurt for competition, that's not the root of what people watch football for, it's very high skilled -- people playing the game at a very high level, with a lot on the line. Very fierce competition. Those principles are right there in esports too," Smith said.

Smith said there are seventy-five students on his college's team. If they win scholarship money, they put it toward their tuition. Lewis said some of the students want to pursue a career in the field.

"As the ability for everything to grow online has become more and more in demand, there are more and more career opportunities," he continued.

Below is a listing of video game developers in Wisconsin and colleges in our state offering esports programs.

e Sports Listings by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

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