After criticizing the gaming grind on his podcast, Joe Rogan trended on Twitter on July 26. Gamers, including Ninja and DrLupo, seemed unhappy with how flippantly he criticized their pastime.
In an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan described video games as a “waste of time” because they are addictively fun, but not as profitable as other hobbies. This has resulted in major controversy, eliciting unrelenting reactions from the gaming community’s fans and professionals.
“Video games a real problem. You know why? Because they’re f**king fun. You do them, and they’re real exciting, but you don’t get anywhere.”
Joe Rogan has described video games as a “waste of time” for 'most people': https://t.co/8phVgmGYP9 pic.twitter.com/HGVgCfr7mh
— DEXERTO.COM (@Dexerto) July 26, 2020
“Video games are a real problem … because they’re f**king fun … and you do them, and they’re real exciting, but you don’t get anywhere,” he said. Many of the reactions have reflected that there’s some truth to what Rogan is saying, but some of the most prominent responses have surrounded what feels inherently off-the-mark about his analysis.
While it’s obviously true that too much of anything is unhealthy, calling gaming a ‘waste of time’ compared to martial arts is a questionable take for many. The point’s contradiction was highlighted by HasanAbi, who noted that “you can start a dojo if you do BJJ, but you can’t join an esports organization? Or become a Twitch streamer?” Further, DrLupo, one of the most successful streamers, elaborated why Rogan’s take seems too generalized.
Listening to this podcast is a waste of time if it's all you do all day and wait for the next episode.
Generalized bad take is bad. Anything can be harmful in excess. Video games have made many people successful, they're the cause for a majority of my friendships, etc. https://t.co/j86f8VZFPU
— DrLupo (@DrLupo) July 26, 2020
Aside from financial upside to serious gaming, popular personalities like Goldenboy echoed Lupo’s point about friendships: “I met my best friends because of video games.” This emphasis on positive, non-monetary benefits coincides with gamers like motivational speaker, Steven Spohn, who credits gaming for helping him ‘fall in love’ as well as Overwatch and Valorant General Manager Michael ‘Packing_10’ Szklanny who professed that “video games saved my life from PTSD.”
While many complained that Rogan’s analysis emphasized financials too heavily, esports players conversely accompanied DrLupo and streamers in discrediting the belief that gaming is not lucrative or worth time.
The Atlanta FaZe’s Chris ‘Simp’ Lehr made the simple point that esports proves gaming can be financially beneficial while fellow CDL player Tommy 'ZooMaa' Paparatto noted that, although "there needs to be balance," "nothing you do that you enjoy is a waste of time." This multitude of perspectives reflects just how varied and multifaceted the gaming industry and culture is. This is precisely what Ninja elaborated on in his response to Rogan.
Joe Rogan gaming comment thoughts video.
Mind was kinda everywhere but wanted to get a little vid out to explain it sooner rather than later.
ALSO! Enjoy the full emo hair Ninj right now 🤪 pic.twitter.com/fgb92vUVtF
— Ninja (@Ninja) July 26, 2020
"Joe doesn't really understand the full context of what the gaming community is and how many different avenues you can be successful in." Ninja expands on why Rogan's comments seem to belie a less nuanced understanding of gaming's totality than the scene deserves, using the examples of emerging opportunities like coaching to complement the professions of streamers and players.
Ultimately, everyone seems to agree that no hobby, even gaming, is exempt from being unhealthy when it is done in excess. But those embroiled in gaming culture, from casuals to professionals, found that Rogan’s phrasing ignored the hobby’s merits and the industry’s growth.
Many, from David Heinemeier Hansson and Talia Mar to Cory Barlog and Snitchery, chimed in to defend against a clip that they felt unfairly represented gaming.