In recent episode 1514 of his world-famous podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience”, the eponymous host and comedian claimed video games are a “waste of time,” arguing that they “don’t get you anywhere.”
Yo @joerogan, I'm a host for the biggest esport and most played video game in the world. I would jump at an opportunity to be on your show and talk about the value of games. Hit me up if you're interested! https://t.co/1b0r95ZbVw— James Dash (@JamesDash) July 26, 2020
The controversial comments sparked immediate discussion. So much so that host of the LCS, James “Dash” Patterson, has offered to come and contest Rogan’s views on the podcast, and argue for the “value” of games.
As a host of the most played video game in the world, and its most popular esport, Dash certainly has the qualifications to make a case in favour of the worth of video games - or at least take the conversation to a more nuanced space than a mid-podcast digression. Whether Joe Rogan decides to take up the gauntlet thrown down and accept Dash onto an episode is another question.
The crux of Rogan’s argument seems to hinge around two issues: one, a lack of profitable or marketable “product” that someone would get out of playing video games; and two, an inherent volatility in the market - what is the chance any given game survives five or more years?
- Read more: LCS host James "Dash" Patterson: "I don't think there's any world where Cloud9 doesn't win"
On the first point, Rogan suggests that someone who’d spent the same amount of time practising jiu-jitsu as opposed to grinding games would have a better-learned skill-set to make a career - namely, being able to teach jiu-jitsu. This argument does assume a base level of skill, however. In reality, not everyone is going to be able to reach the level of skill required to become a black-belt; ironically mirroring Rogan’ own criticism of people looking to go pro in an esport.
(Picture: The Joe Rogan Experience)
Moreover, should a hobby have to come with a profit motive? There is a value for play for play’s sake, something that’s been discussed in academia as early as Johan Huizinga’s “Homo Ludens.” Nor is profit expected from movie buffs or avid readers, rather these mediums are considered valuable for their ability to articulate complex philosophical issues, or even just offer a base level of escapism and aesthetic beauty. Should we be holding games to a different standard?
Rogan’s comments come in the face of increasing involvement and profits to be found within video-gaming. The industry of making games, as much as playing them, is becoming an ever more viable career option from the indie all the way up to AAA developer levels, and that’s without taking into consideration the peripheral industries that are around games and gaming - such as esports and streaming, which Dash would come in as a representative of.
For now, though, the discussion continues.