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Do you think Magic: The Gathering and shogi players are “wasting their lives on just a game?”

Making a living as a professional gamer is, for many people, still a relatively new concept. While sports athletes are a part of the collective culture, with people packing into stadiums in their thousands to watch them do their stuff, many have a harder time accepting that people playing video games, computer games, or card games could ever be admired, let alone paid or watched, to the same level.

But with schools for e-sports popping up, competitions worth millions of dollars getting millions of viewers, and even professional gamers getting working visas, being a pro gamer is becoming more accepted by the day.

However, there are still some dissenting voices. The Japanese magazine BUBKA recently ran a short blurb on professional Magic: The Gathering and shogi players, and they didn’t have too many nice things to say.

@mimi3310mtg tweeted a picture of the article: (translation below)

Magic: The Gathering Pros
Yearly Salary: 2 million to 32 million yen (US$18,000 to $290,000)
A pro who gets prize money by battling in a trading card game. They have no redeeming qualities, unless you count being good at card games. Basically, they are like children playing Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh.
“This is popular all over the world? Graduate from elementary school already!”

Pro Shogi Player
Yearly Salary: 10 million to 99 million yen ($92,000 to $911,000)
It’s said that it’s harder to be a professional shogi player than it is to get into Tokyo University. Well if that’s the case, it feels like they’re wasting their life on just a game. And with artificial intelligence only getting better, is there even a point to them existing anymore?
(Incomplete but guessed to be:)
“Wasting a brain that could’ve gotten into Tokyo University.”

Yikes! Them’s some fightin’ words. Although, first of all, we have to ask: where on Earth did BUBKA get those salary numbers from? According to a recent article written about actual Magic: The Gathering pros, the yearly salaries for among the best players in the world is about $44,000… and that’s before the thousands of dollars in travel/gaming expenses!

But that just leads to ask even more questions: if BUBKA thought that Magic pros were making upward of $290,000 per year, why would they be belittling them? Wouldn’t a better article be one commenting on why these people are able to make so much, or how their readers can get in on such a lucrative career themselves? Instead we get what seems to be little more than a misplaced rant.

And that’s not even taking into account the blurb on shogi, which is an important part of Japanese culture. I know I wouldn’t ever want my name on an article in the U.S. that claimed football or baseball players were “wasting their lives on just a game.”

It seems that BUBKA is in the minority opinion on the matter, though. Here’s what some Japanese netizens had to say in response to the article:

“Wow, even insulting shogi players. Didn’t see that coming!”
“What is going on here? Does the writer have some sort of disease where if he doesn’t insult someone then he dies?”
“I think they got it backwards – if you can make that much playing games, it’s not a bad thing, awesome!”
“If you can make money doing something, then who cares? As long as it’s not illegal or anything.”

Agreed on that last point! I think society is evolving to understand that even if you don’t wear a suit to an office every day, you can still be a respectable adult.

The change may be slow, but if it means more people can make a living doing the things they love, and perhaps even be at home more so their children don’t have a better relationship with the Roomba than they do with them, then that’s probably change for the better.

Source: Twitter/@mimi3310mtg via Hachima Kiko
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