ATLANTA — Atlanta is working to become a hub of a burgeoning industry that has turned fun and games into careers.
This weekend, Atlanta’s Gateway Center Arena in College Park will host 64 teams for the Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup. The gathering will include a career fair and networking opportunities.
“Esports is one of the fastest growing industries that we have in the country right now,” said Jeffrey Stepakoff, Director of the Georgia Film Academy that offers classes on careers in esports. “In many ways we're trying to shape this business to help bring it to Georgia.”
Cooper Fiscus-van Rossum is a graduate of the Academy’s esports program. He has provided play-by-play for e-sports competitions and has also worked behind-the-scenes helping produce the broadcasts.
“What I thought had been a hobby and maybe a fun thing to do, it turns out there's a way to make a career and a life out of it,” said Fiscus-van Rossum.
Live streaming of esports drew an estimated 728 million viewers worldwide last year, a 10% increase over the year before. The industry generated more than a billion dollars.
The top competitors make millions.
Stepakoff said there are plenty of ways to make a living behind-the-scenes.
“I'm talking about technology jobs,” said Stepakoff. “I'm talking about coding jobs, jobs that have to do with putting on these events. One of the reasons that we are so excited about making Atlanta and Georgia a hub for esports and gaming is because you're really seeing this amalgamation of both technology and entertainment.”
The industry is growing so quickly that Fiscus-van Rossum has yet to decide what path he’ll take.
“The Georgia Film Academy just blasted the door like down and it was like, oh, now I see everything,” said Fiscus-van Rossum.
He sees a whole new world that is much more than fun and games.