NEW DELHI: "Gaming is for nerds," a myth long ingrained in us. Gone are the days when gaming was associated with negative connotations, and gamers were stereotyped as lazy, inactive users. "Gaming, as an industry, has exponentially grown over the years across markets. Today, the gaming industry has evolved from a casual hobby to a serious business perspective, worth over a billion dollars. This has encouraged celebrities to be vocal about their gaming interest, and invest in innovative gaming companies," says Anton Rublievskyi- CEO, Parimatch International.
Below is a list of celebrities who have poured their money and fame into exciting gaming opportunities.
Mike Tyson: After retiring from the ring, the hall of Fame boxing champion has taken an interest in the world of e-sports by purchasing ownership stake in Esports company, Fade 2 Karma. The heavyweight tycoon has also spoken about his intentions to grow the industry, and build gaming facilities.
Tyson regularly puts out his gaming videos on streaming channels and has also shown interest in reviving the Mike Tyson Punch Out game, originally released by Nintendo in 1987. Tyson is also an ambassador for the global esports and gaming company, Parimatch International, and represents the holding's development into international markets, along with UFC champion, Conor McGregor.
Ashton Kutcher: The star of 'That 70s Show', Ashton Kutcher might have built his career being a goofy, lovable character in reel life, but his real-life persona is business-sharp. Kutcher has stepped-up from being a successful actor to a venture capitalist by co-founding the investment firm, Sound Ventures, in 2015. Kutcher, an avid gamer since childhood, has voiced his opinion about the potential of esports and the need to mainstream the segment, on numerous occasions. Kutcher ventured into the segment by investing in the esports platform, Unikrn, thereby joining a pool of renowned investors in the company, such as Mark Cuban.
Sachin Tendulkar: After dominating the cricket ground for 2 decades, Tendulkar entered the gaming space by investing in Smaaash Entertainment, a sports and gaming arena, prevalent across India. Under Sachin's mentorship, Smaash developed innovative gaming technologies such as Virtual Reality and multiple digital entertainments, to be established as an enhanced gaming experience pioneer in the country. He has also launched and played an active part in developing innovative gaming experiences such as the Sachin Saga VR, which was India's first virtual reality cricket multiplayer.
Drake: Canadian rap sensation Aubrey Drake Graham, popularly known as Drake, has been as consistent in pushing out hit singles, as he has been in engaging with the esports and gaming world. Drake's love for gaming is widely known as he plays a lot during his downtime in the recording studio.
Drake took the center stage in the gaming world when he live-streamed and played Fortnite with a globally famous gaming streamer, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, which brought in more than 635,000 concurrent viewers. Drake is the co-owner of esports organization, 100 Thieves, and has also invested in the esports and gaming website, Players Lounge.
M.S. Dhoni: Known for his legendary helicopter shot and swift wicket keeping, former Indian cricket team captain, M.S.Dhoni, is also a gaming maverick off the field as he has been spotted gaming on his mobile during cricketing tours. Taking his love for gaming further, Dhoni has also been the brand ambassador for Dream11, a fantasy sports, and gaming platform.
Reportedly, MSD has a penchant for games like PUBG and Call of duty. His wife, Sakshi Dhoni, has also mentioned that video games act as a stress buster for him, to the point where he even sleep talks about PUBG.
Michael Jordan: The NBA superstar is an active investor in the world of sports and technology. The basketball legend entered the esports and gaming industry by investing in AXiomatic Gaming, which owns the professional-gaming franchise Team Liquid. At the time of the investment, Jordan had stated that esports was "a fast-growing, international industry". Over the years, Jordan has been a part of multiple video games and has actively supported it, to the extent that he has been widely credited for turning basketball fans into hardcore gamers.
As globally renowned celebrities venture directly or indirectly into the world of Esports and gaming, the foundations of gaming as a lucrative industry are gaining momentum. With more celebrities vying to get a slice of the gaming and esports pie, the day is not far when the gaming industry thrives and dominates major markets across the world. (IANSlife)