Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that they had bought the gaming company Activision Blizzard for a reported $67.1 billion. This was a watershed moment for the industry, and one which signalled a cultural shift as gaming became a truly mainstream entertainment medium. But how did we get here? How did gaming move from a niche industry dominated by teenagers, to one attracting thousands of fans to live esports events and millions streaming online? In this episode of Playing with Reality, we explore these questions and more, looking at what the future holds as other industries get more invested in the gaming world.
Joost Van Dreunen is an academic, entrepreneur, investor and strategic advisor to start-ups and financial funds active in video games. He teaches courses on video games at the NYU Stern School of Business, and has written books, including “One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games.” Prior to this, Joost was the co-founder and CEO of SuperData Research, a games market research firm acquired by Nielsen in 2018.
Koen Schobbers is a professional gamer specialising in the racing game Trackmania. He later became a host for ESPN, a board member and vice chair of the Athletes, Players & Community Commission of the Global Esports Federation and the founder of Parents of Play, a charity which seeks to restore and strengthen parents’ relationships with their gaming children. He is also the author of the book ‘My Gaming Child’, and has been a professional speaker since 2016, including at events like TEDx.