For some, “Guitar Hero” is not just a game, but a career. And, for sixteen year old Blake Peebles it is just that. He has dropped out of high school to pursue his career as a guitar hero with the full support of his parents. When Blake is not playing for his friends, family and locals of North Raleigh, he is winning gift certificates, gaming equipment and other prizes at “Guitar Hero” tournaments.
To date, Blake has won about $1,000 in prizes. It is hard to believe that parents would allow their teenager to drop out of school to concentrate on gaming. It is even harder to believe that anyone could actually earn a living playing video games. Of course, Blake’s parents have hired tutors does not fall behind. Even so, Blake aspires to be part of the few professional gamers in existence.
Although it seems so unbelievable that this could be a profitable career choice, Major League Gaming, a company that has over 125 gamers signed to management deal, holds tournaments all across the country. These gamers can earn over $80,000 per year, however the average income typically only ranges from $20,000 to $30,000 per year. Blake estimates that he is among the top 15 or 20 in the online world for his country, which has qualified him for the World Cyber Games in California this month. If Blake wins, he will then represent the US at the “Guitar Hero III” world tournament in Germany.
Another gamer, Terry Lindle has been in the competitive gaming profession for 8 years now and he estimates having earned only $25,000 in that entire period; a mere $3,125 per year. He also admits that to earn any real revenue, a gamer must win tournaments and rank among the top 1% to be noticed by sponsors. Also, “Guitar Hero” is not currently one of the big money games either.
With all this in mind, have Blake and his parents made the right choice? My guess is, probably not. Is this any different than quitting school and devoting your life to sports or is this just every kid’s dream come true? After all, Blake stays up well past a normal bedtime playing video games and alters his bedroom to accommodate his gaming career. My opinion is that Blake might have been better off picking up a real guitar and taking a stab at becoming a true guitar hero like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page or Tony Iommi.
This day in classic rock:
1967 – Columbia Records re-sign Bob Dylan, despite opposition from MGM, for whom he appeared to have already signed. MGM never countersigned the contract and subsequently went out of business.