Are video games a waste of time? - A respone to Joe Rogan
July 30, 2020

Opinion: Are video games a “waste of time”? – A response to Joe Rogan

As many of you probably already know, Joe Rogan recently talked about gaming in his podcast. To him “video games are a real problem” and ultimately a waste of time.

Rogan’s conclusion in his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” leaves more than just a sour taste in the mouths of gamers all around the world. Let us examine Rogan’s argument from the beginning: He labels video games as a problem because they “don’t get (you) anywhere”. Afterwards he draws a straight comparison to Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art, to further his argument.

In Rogan’s comparison spending three years mastering Jiu-Jitsu is the much better choice as you can become an elite athlete in the same timeframe according to him. Not only are competitions available to you, Rogan also says that Jiu-Jitsu can give you a way to earn your living. In comparison to that he claims that gamers would still be the same “kid” three years later just waiting for the next game and “wasting your time”.

Rogan’s critique mirrors what many of us gamers have been hearing for what seems like forever. Be it parents, friends or even strangers judging you for wearing a gaming t-shirt. The gaming scene has long been invalidated by others who are unwilling or unable to consider it as anything more than just a useless time sink.

Wasting your time

Let us assume for the sake of the argument that Rogan is correct. That there is no way to earn your living via video games. Even then his critique of “wasting your time” is unjustified. Continuing his train of thought, that every waking moment of your life should be spent doing something useful or productive, the entire entertainment industry would have to be categorized as meaningless. Be it books, movies, television or even Rogan’s own podcast, none of them are useful and therefore they are all problematic.

But relaxation and stress relief are integeral parts of mental health in modern times. Hobbies have always been something to “meaninglessly” spend time, money and energy on. There is no objective way to judge a hobby for not leading to future job opportunities as the happiness everyone derives from them cannot be measured. Then again video games have a plethora of job opportunities nowadays that disprove Rogan easily.

Esports and streaming

The elephant in the room missing in Rogan’s argument is obviously the entirety of the esports and streaming industries. Successful gamers putting in effort, dedication and possessing the necessary talent can comfortably make a living as professional athlethes competing for milions or as entertainers on various streaming platforms.

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You don’t have to be a progamer

Should you not have high skill in a particular game there are still opportunities en masse. If you are heavily invested into video games you might just pursue a career as video game journalist, developer, artist, animator, designer, play tester and many more. You can even create your own game as an indie game developer and be successful.

That is not to say that gaming does not have its own share of problems. Gaming addiction is a threat and social isolation via escapism can also occur through video games. But Rogan, who has struggled with his own past gaming addiction is determined to only see the downsides of our hobby.

The important takeaway here is that video games are not inherently more harmful than other hobbies. Regardless of which particular hobby you persue, excess can always end up hurting you.

So simply said: Joe Rogan was wrong. Although the reasons are understandable, claiming video gaming to be useless is just a bad generalized take on a situation he clearly is unwilling to fully understand. Unfortunately his phrasing ignores all the merits and growths the industry has been going through in recent times.

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Image Credit: Valve, Joe Rogan
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