In 2022, over 38 million French people play video games. It has become a common interest among colleagues in the workplace; gaming is no longer limited to children. In fact, many wait until their kids are asleep to start a gaming session. Video games are gaining more and more popularity and starting to become structured and professionalized, with dedicated events, recognition of esports, emergence of new careers, and specialized schools being established. Long stigmatized, the industry is now taking off and attracting the interest of companies, drawn to the numerous benefits this practice offers in terms of cognitive abilities and soft skills development. What if video games became a real lever for professional performance?
Esports, a professionalizing and unifying sector.
Formerly on the fringe and reserved for “geeks,” video gaming is now undergoing a profound transition. It is becoming organized, captivating, and unifying. For instance, on June 21, 2022, the French team Karmine Corp (a French esports organization based in Paris) brought together over 12,000 fans at the Accord Arena in Paris and had over 175,000 viewers tuning in live for the KCX2 (Karmine Corp Xperience) esports event. These figures reflect the sector’s strong appeal.
Initially, video gaming relied on its community aspect. Each game, publisher, and brand created its own community of motivated players. These gaming stakeholders structured their scene, often drawing on the codes of traditional sports, consciously or unconsciously. This development led to new needs and paved the way for various professions in the gaming industry, such as managers, coaches, mental and physical trainers.
Driven by their passion, amateur players organized themselves and gained skills through their experiences, whether in esports, organization, or human interactions. These profiles, who are employees during the week, transform into true entrepreneurs on the weekends. This expertise they acquire is beneficial for companies at all levels. But what about the practice itself?
Beyond preconceived notions in esports.
Video games often face negative stereotypes in the collective consciousness. Of course, excessive gaming, like any form of consumption, can have detrimental effects on health. However, playing games is a natural and effective way of learning. That’s one of the reasons why children often outperform most adults in this domain. For example, a game like League of Legends features over 150 champions (characters) combined with hundreds of items that affect their abilities, cooldowns, and unique traits. The amount of information to assimilate and process within a split second during an enemy attack is incredible. It often involves a few hundredths of a second to react.
Indeed, video game practice engages various parts of the brain, activating new cognitive skills. A player who embodies a character within a game faces various challenges and objectives. Confronted with all sorts of issues, they are constantly required to find solutions to unexpected situations and adapt accordingly. During gameplay, a gamer needs to analyze and integrate a constant stream of information, thus enhancing their memory capacities. Performing well in esports also requires constant attention and the development of excellent reflexes. Despite being criticized for impulsiveness, players are guided to better understand their emotions and, consequently, to manage potential failures and disappointments. All these qualities attributed to gaming can be transferred to the professional sphere.
And it’s evident that companies are becoming more familiar with dedicated software initially designed for gaming. Many employees now communicate through platforms like Discord, which offer practical and efficient functionalities. This is yet another proof of video games expanding into the corporate environment.
From video gaming to the corporate world: An underestimated transfer of skills.
For over 20 years now, the U.S. military has understood this. They recruit extensively in the gaming industry, investing millions of euros and even developing their own game. The use of video games has grown to such an extent that they now have their own esports team. France is not far behind. In 2022, they launched their Twitch channel and professional team: LNX3.
The British and Dutch also have their own esports teams. More than just a visibility and targeting tool, they use esports as a true propaganda organ. Indeed, cybersecurity, development, and digital professions attract numerous players. When a player implements a cybersecurity strategy or a data processing algorithm, they need to be rigorous, organized, capable of solving complex situations, and immersed in the mindset of their users. These are skills that are perfectly found in a game like Counter-Strike, and it’s not an isolated case.
Unfortunately, many European companies still underestimate this approach. However, the video game industry has been France’s leading cultural industry for over 10 years. It is the responsibility of the education system to adapt to these practices and structure the transfer of skills. Yet, apart from a handful of projects, the education system is seriously lagging behind and does not view video game practice favorably. This perspective will surely change when the government includes true gamers within its ranks. Let’s meet again in 10 years.
- SELL – Syndicat des Editeurs de Logiciels de Loisir
- La Nouvelle République
- 20 minutes
- Temps de régénération d’un sort dans le jeu League of Legends