Prague – Parents tired of seeing their offspring huddled for hours over their PC screens or consoles may baulk at the thought, but there's money to be made playing games – lots of money.
At Intel's Xeon 7400 launch this week, Jens Hilgers, CEO of Turtle Entertainment, said it's not just the game manufacturers who are being handsomely rewarded for their products, some professional gamers are making tens of thousands of Euros simply doing what they love best – playing computer games.
Turtle Entertainment runs the Electronic Sports League, Europe's largest online gaming community.
"In 2007 we offered 750 000 Euros in prize money in our various leagues," Hilgers says. "A good professional gamer can easily make 125 000 Euros a year – purely on gaming."
This figure doesn't include additional revenue the pros can make in terms of endorsements, sponsorships and appearance fees as gamers ascend to the status of football stars.
Hilgers showed slides of fan buses on their way to tournaments and said some stars can attract up to 5 000 spectators to an event.
"And they're cheering on one gamer," he says. "Gamers are gathering in ever increasing numbers to watch their stars. It's like football fans in a stadium.
"These fans are proof that computer gaming is a sport – they support national teams [of gamers], look for the autographs of their stars, and even have their own fan buses going from event to event."
Maybe food for thought next time we drag the kids outside with the bat and ball for some "proper" sport?