From the Basement to the Penthouse

Thursday, November 23, 2017

By Glenn Atyeo


Technically speaking, I am a millennial. Millennials have a sordid reputation on the internet, and according to many are responsible for the beginning of the decline of civilization – but that’s an argument for another day. Millennials are typically categorized as being born in the early 1980’s and ending around the early 2000’s. So, whether you’re 17 years old, or nearly 40 – we have a bit in common.

To pin point specific events in my life, I default to using video games as a metric. Many people can look at a photograph of something, hear a certain song or see a movie and it takes them back to a memory in their life. For me – and many others of my ilk – it’s video games. “Glenn, do you remember when Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa?” Of course, it’s 1994, so I was very likely blowing on my Super Mario 3 cartridge and pressing it up and down furiously in my system trying to get it to work. “Do you remember when Princess Diana died?” Of course I do, but I also remember wanting to get home so I could play Goldeneye and try to beat the Dam level using only karate chops (I was a kid – forgive me for being impatient). “Glenn, what do you remember about the early days of dating your future wife, something romantic I bet?” I remember annihilating her 14-0 in NHL ’11. I believe that was the first and last time we played a video game competitively together. Could I have let her score a few to let her have some fun? No.

Video games have never been bigger than they are now. It is a legitimate art form, a sports industry, and it makes more money than Hollywood. Yes, Hollywood. In 2013, the worldwide box office revenue for the film industry was $35.9 billion. Worldwide revenue for video game sales was $70.4 billion. Video games make twice as much money as the movie industry yet continue to be considered a juvenile pastime by many. If you’re one of those people – I totally understand – but try to look at it this way: Back in the day, young people took the trolley down to the Five and Dime and picked up the latest Benny Goodman record. They put their shiny dime on the counter and Mr. McGillicuddy gave them the album and they went on their merry way. When they got home they put the record on the player and snapped along in unison to the rockin’ clarinet solos. Their parents likely said something along the lines of, “Turn that racket down!” Every generation has their thing that the generation before them just doesn’t get. Are there people outside of millennials that enjoy video games? Of course there are, but by a pretty huge margin video games are still seen as infantile and a waste of time.

Video games are now a fabric of our society. They are produced, marketed and consumed at an equal if not higher rate than movies, books, music, toys or anything else past generations entertained themselves with. They are part of the culture, and you can find an interview online of just about anyone in pop culture discussing their favorite video games, from Pong to Super Mario to Grand Theft Auto – video games are mainstream. In May we launched GINX ESports TV Canada – which is the very first channel in Canada to offer 24/7 Esports programming – from lifestyle shows to high-level tournaments to trippy, relaxing clip shows of beautiful cutscenes set to music. They said no one would watch a 24/7 news network, they said no one would watch a 24/7 sports network, and yet, here we are.