IRVINE (  — Remember when parents used to yell at their kids to go outside, put down the joysticks — playing all those video games will lead to nothing?

Well, those days are over.

The video game business is exploding.

It’s so big, in fact, UCI opened their first sports arena Friday night for video games.

KCAL9’s Stacey Butler was there for the grand opening. In fact, she didn’t have to look far to find some of the most eager.

Owen Dupuy and his big brother Zach lined up for hours so they could be first inside.

“My brother and I wanted to get in there before the others could get in there,” Owen said.

The sports arena for gaming is the first of its kind on a university campus.

An estimated 2,000 showed up tonight to test out the new facility for eSports.

They might appear to be wasting time, but these gamers told Butler they are also focused on their futures.

He’s already seeing the future in video gaming and e sports. He also plans on getting a gaming science degree from UCI and becoming a game tester at one of the dozens of gaming companies based in Irvine.

This future gamer hopes to follow in the footsteps of Benjamin Kempenich. He just graduated UCI with an MBA.

“Advising on mergers and acquisitions for the gaming industry for a gaming company,” he says.

His wife is a pediatric doctor who uses video games to help with her patients. She says gaming is no longer  just a gam

“This means a lot,” says Jen Chen. “There’s not a lot of sports out there and it brings fun and legitimacy to eSports.”

She added, “This is like ‘Revenge of the Nerds.’ ”

So many people were playing inside the arena, they set up monitors outside so people could follow what was going on.

“I think it’s a really good moment for the gamers,” said Zach Dupuy.


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