Entrepreneurial spirited teenagers in Dubai have discovered a way of making a bit of extra pocket money from eSports. The gaming industry's global market generated a total revenue of over $100 billion in 2017, and is poised for further growth. Professional gaming careers routinely begin in the formative years of youngsters. Whilst gaming probably isn’t a parents’ first choice for a traditional career destination, the industry offers a huge diversity of creative and artistic opportunities. The progressive nature of gaming has allowed us to be able to break the stereotypical gamer profile. Historically, gamers were thought to be reclusive nerds, and in some respects, it is easy to see how this label was attached by a generation bereft of technology. However, the reality is that gamers are most likely exceptionally bright social individuals with a propensity to lead independent and successful lives.

Young semi-professional gamers in Dubai have banded together to compete in team tournaments with a prize pot for the winning teams of around $10,000. The group called Valour has 30 members that meet regularly to practice for the tournaments. In preparation for competitions, the training regime requires mental athleticism and dedication with a heavy schedule of six days per week, three to four hours a day. Amongst the typical disciplines that the group focus on and members try to master are game strategies and character composition.

Training boot camps are common before a tournament where the team live together and practice, and create an environment under competition conditions. Occasionally, sponsors are able to assist with the training by paying for the participants to spend time in gaming network centres, which are gaining in popularity. Many members of the Valour group will invariably go on to become professional gamers, and enjoy the rich rewards open to them.

League of Legends tournament

Generally, eSports are seen as a pastime for teenagers but plenty of fully-grown people play games, although it’s more of a guilty pleasure for older gamers. In terms of entertainment, video games are extraordinarily good value and provide at least 2 hours of continuous fun on each visit. The more you play a game, whether it’s football or building a village, new skillsets and features will be discovered. Depending on which psychological side of the fence you belong to, gaming does have a lot of benefits for everyone, despite the heavy marketing of killing each other games and the negative press surrounding them. Psychologists now agree that there are many long-lasting cognitive benefits gained by playing video games. Considered to be the basic building blocks of intelligence, playing games develops perception, attention, memory and decision making. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t really bad for your eyesight either.

There are even documented cases where playing video games is used as a treatment for amblyopia – lazy eye. As we age, our cognitive flexibility decreases but surprisingly, playing video games helps to reverse the mental decline that accompanies ageing.

A recent survey revealed that mobile gamers in the UAE play 20-40 minutes of video games every day. The results indicate that the gaming industry has a demographically diverse audience, and the market is expected to expand in the region. Nearly 90% of smartphone users in the Emirates are playing mobile games, and it isn’t exclusively reserved for young people. Technological advances have made mobile a viable form of entertainment, which has helped deliver a wider appeal to all ages and backgrounds. Mobile gaming is expected to account for almost 50% of the revenue in 2018. Principally, the survey was commissioned to unlock mobile usage behaviour to help the industry to optimise the services they provide, and reach their consumers more effectively.

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