I am sure some may have seen the guild Method is looking to branch out and become more of a professional E-sports team. If you are unaware of what I am talking about, link to the fundraiser.
Not looking at the lower level funding, selling shirts, coaching sessions, etc, they are trying to raise money to branch out into the more competitive games, such as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. I think it is great that they have the skill and desire to compete at the top levels of games. I do not have an issue with them seeking out corporate sponsors, or even asking folks to donate. We see Go Fund Me requests all the time, and if we feel it is a worthwhile cause or reason we donate to it. I wish them the best of luck in making this happen. They do not play the same game as I do. They are at a level of playing only a few could even comprehend.
What had me thinking driving to work today was how does my hobby being your job affect me. I cannot fault them for asking people to pay to watch what they do, people can play football as a hobby, baseball, any numerous hobby’s that have a corresponding professional level counterpart. People pay for access to NFL Sunday ticket to watch games, and they even compete professionally at video games. Look at World Series of Poker, people will watch for hours as people gamble.
One thing I have noticed in recent years is that if there is a chance to make money doing something others enjoy as a hobby, people will try to make money at it. Just focusing on WoW here, lets look at sites like WoWhead, WoWInsider, etc. They are not asking you to pay a premium to visit their sites, they make money through advertizing on their web sites, it is enough to pay the bills and keep it going, maybe even pay some staff. We have newcomer AskMrRobot, who offers much for free, if you want additional functionality you can pay a small fee every year for more. We have class web sites that run on donations and advertisements.
But the one thing that gets me is that while all of these people may have started playing WoW 1 even 10 years or more ago, they did it because they wanted to play a video game. But now they are looking to find ways to fund, dare I say justify, their playing video games. There will always be someone out there with a blog, or their own personal web site just talking about what they love, there is a passion finding that person that has found one aspect of the game that they want to focus on and just talk about. They will listen to ideas, and entertain theories. They are doing it not for a paycheck or name recognition, just to talk about something they love.
I think that when you no longer look at playing a game and talking about it because you love to talk about it, and instead you start looking at it as a job you have to do, because you get paid, some of the spark dies. When you think that what you offer is so valuable that you think people should pay for it, you have taken a step across a line. There are many lines, one you cross when you take that step to put yourself out there and talk about what you have a passion for, when you step up to say, hey, I have written a sort of guide based on what I enjoy in the game, to a point where you say, I want to be paid for talking to you about my hobby, and eventually this is my job, my career, I compete at this and want to earn a living doing it.
Is it wrong to want to be able to play games and earn a living doing it? Absolutely not. And I am sure people will find value in contributing to you for the entertainment you provide to them. Just keep in mind, when you lose the passion, we will know, when we see that you are looking at us as a paycheck, we will find someone new that has the passion you once had. And offers it for free.