Japanese magazine claims pro gamers 'are like children' and 'have no value to society'

By Scott Wilson, RocketNews24

Making a living as a professional gamer is, for many people, still a relatively new concept. While sports athletes are a part of the collective culture, with people packing into stadiums in their thousands to watch them do their stuff, many have a harder time accepting that people playing video games, computer games, or card games could ever be admired, let alone paid or watched, to the same level.

But with schools for e-sports popping up, competitions worth millions of dollars getting millions of viewers, and even professional gamers getting working visas, being a pro gamer is becoming more accepted by the day.

However, there are still some dissenting voices. The Japanese magazine BUBKA recently ran a short blurb on professional Magic: The Gathering and shogi players, and they didn’t have too many nice things to say.

Magic: The Gathering Pros Yearly Salary: 2 million to 32 million yen
A pro who gets prize money by battling in a trading card game. They have no redeeming qualities, unless you count being good at card games. Basically, they are like children playing Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh. “This is popular all over the world? Graduate from elementary school already!”

Pro Shogi Player Yearly Salary: 10 million to 99 million yen
It’s said that it’s harder to be a professional shogi player than it is to get into Tokyo University. Well if that’s the case, it feels like they’re wasting their life on just a game. And with artificial intelligence only getting better, is there even a point to them existing anymore? (Incomplete but guessed to be:) “Wasting a brain that could’ve gotten into Tokyo University.”

Yikes! Them’s some fightin’ words. Although, first of all, we have to ask: where on Earth did BUBKA get those salary numbers from? According to a recent article written about actual Magic: The Gathering pros, the yearly salaries for among the best players in the world is about $44,000… and that’s before the thousands of dollars in travel/gaming expenses!

But that just leads to ask even more questions: if BUBKA thought that Magic pros were making upward of 32 million yen per year, why would they be belittling them? Wouldn’t a better article be one commenting on why these people are able to make so much, or how their readers can get in on such a lucrative career themselves? Instead we get what seems to be little more than a misplaced rant.

And that’s not even taking into account the blurb on shogi, which is an important part of Japanese culture. I know I wouldn’t ever want my name on an article in the U.S. that claimed football or baseball players were “wasting their lives on just a game.”

It seems that BUBKA is in the minority opinion on the matter, though. Here’s what some Japanese netizens had to say in response to the article:

“Wow, even insulting shogi players. Didn’t see that coming!” “What is going on here? Does the writer have some sort of disease where if he doesn’t insult someone then he dies?” “I think they got it backwards – if you can make that much playing games, it’s not a bad thing, awesome!” “If you can make money doing something, then who cares? As long as it’s not illegal or anything.”

Agreed on that last point! I think society is evolving to understand that even if you don’t wear a suit to an office every day, you can still be a respectable adult.

The change may be slow, but if it means more people can make a living doing the things they love, and perhaps even be at home more so their children don’t have a better relationship with the Roomba than they do with them, then that’s probably change for the better.

Source: Twitter/@mimi3310mtg via Hachima Kiko

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I have no problem with you denigrating professional gamers as long as you denigrate professional athletes in the same rant. They really are two sides of the same coin.

That said, anyone who has enough time to worry about how someone else legally makes their money probably isn't focused enough on working hard and leading a fulfilling life on their own.

“What is going on here? Does the writer have some sort of disease where if he doesn’t insult someone then he dies?”

Whoa, epic burn from the Japanese Net-set.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I have no problem with you denigrating professional gamers as long as you denigrate professional athletes in the same rant. They really are two sides of the same coin.

I would phrase it that denigrating professional gamers is the same as denigrating professional athletes, but I agree with you on them being two sides of the same coin. I have no interest in professional sports, so I don't see that they are worth the money that they generate. But if people like them, and are willing to spend the money they do, that's their choice. What I have a problem with is when tax money is funneled into sports teams - this provides no benefit to society.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I wonder if we will see the article when the denigrate Rocket News for being mostly a useless news website.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Speaking for themselves, I see

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If they can make a living doing it more power to them. Better than wasting away in some office job you hate your whole life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tell that to the good folks at Geek and Sundry who have donated thousands of dollars to local charities, boosted support of local businesses and spent a lot of their time working with kids to help them become more creative and social.

...of course finding good table game shops in Japan outside of the big cities is a rare thing.

...moreover, outside of a few select individuals I highly doubt gaming is their only job. It takes time to get good at certain games and if it pays off, lucky bonus right? How is this different from aspiring musicians, athletes or artists?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“Wasting a brain that could’ve gotten into Tokyo University.”

Really? So go to uni, graduate, end up as an overworked salaryman, looked down on by your superiors, made to work insane hours for no extra payment, arrive home and before you know it leave for that same soul destroying job again... yes, getting paid for having fun is such a waste.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just googled this BUBKA magazine. They specialize in idols and celebrities like AKB... I guess irony really isn't a thing in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And what use is a journalist that insults genuine people while staying silent about their government robbing them left & right ?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Of course the writer is contributing some thing to society unlike those gamers? I guess the magazine that published that is truly adding something of great significance to our world just like every magazine we see does OR is it just possible that that magazine is full of Matsuko Deluxe and Tarento type high quality information and entertainment. LOL.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They have as much value as professional athletes and sportsmen. Maybe even more so, since they're not as related to crime and big money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have no problem at all with professional gamers - good on them for turning something they love doing into a career. But let's not call it eSports. Sports are a healthy, active pastime whereas gaming isn't. I would consider it an insult to both to put professional gaming into the same category as marathons, sprinting, cycling, football, rugby, cricket, baseball, american football, boxing, MMA, etc.

Especially when some media outlets call professional gamers "athletes". Professional gaming is a far cry from the healthy activities of sports and shouldn't be associated with it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Isn't chess a game?

They even have Chess Olympiads

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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