Opinion: Gaming is a whole new world

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This feeling is based on just one evening.

First there was a panel discussion on the issue of equality under the law, then a one-on-one conversation that covered several interesting topics.

And from that experience, I really liked Judge Clark Peterson — a magistrate here in First District Court.

However …

No disrespect to any jurist, but the fact that Peterson is a serious gamer makes me nervous.

Not just Peterson, the founder of Necromancer Games and co-creator of Legendary Games — but anyone who is taking us all further down the rabbit hole of staring at screens day and night.

We should be terrified, but we’re not.

Why?

This is a hell of a lot more than smartphones and Snapchat.

For instance …

Clash of Clans, a Finnish battle game, tops the iOS App Store money list at $4 billion.

Remember, there was a fairly innocent time when games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders had parents telling their kids to shut it down and get on with the homework.

We’re now in a whole new world.

Consider eSports, competitive gaming that pits contestants from all over the world, and has spawned leagues with people paying real money just to watch a team from Los Angeles battle the powerful Seoul squad in a war of fastest fingers.

Let’s trust Wikipedia on this one: “By 2019, it is estimated that 427 million people worldwide will be watching eSports.

“The increasing availability of online streaming media platforms, particularly Panda.tv, YouTube and Twitch.tv, has become central to the growth and promotion of eSports competitions.

“Demographically, Major League Gaming has reported a majority of viewers between the ages of 18 and 34.”

Would you believe that the International Olympic Committee is considering an eSports exhibition to see if this thing should be included in the Games themselves?

At least it might save on travel and lodging. The contestants could sit at home and compete for their countries’ eternal glory.

And lest we forget, there is the whole sub-culture of what we’ll call violence gaming — fun things like Call of Duty, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and the accurately named Smite.

IGNORING for a moment the notion that these battle games involve shooting people in the face and so on, any and all gaming requires thousands of hours to become “major league.”

In other words, spending every second of your spare time in front of a screen.

Yes, you can argue that competitors in the Ironman have done the same thing, in a way, sacrificing untold hours of quality time and some family interaction to swim, bike and run enough to excel.

But there’s a huge difference: Triathletes wind up in great physical condition, having adopted healthy lifestyles and good eating habits, among other things.

Those advantages likely will be passed to their offspring.

Gaming is just the opposite.

When most of the world’s teens and young adults are locked on screens — for play AND work, we’re looking ahead to a sedentary society that may exist on Big Macs and Diet Coke.

And finally, for you parents …

The hugely popular game Fortnite Battle Royale is free.

However, check this nugget from the news website Quartz: “Even though the game is free to download, players can buy cosmetic items like pickaxes, dance moves, and outfits to personalize their characters — and it adds up.

“The average Fortnite player spends $84.67, according to a new study by financial services company Lendedu.”

Epic Games pocketed $296 million on this “free” little diversion — ah, and that was in April alone.

Oh, well, maybe Junior will make it as a major league gamer for the Seattle Squinters.

Or not.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

A Brand New Day appears Wednesday through Saturday each week. Steve’s sports column runs on Tuesday.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.

Twitter:@BrandNewDayCDA

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