The growing popularity of competitive video game playing, also known as eSports, has made its way to northern Nevada.

Ivan Martinez, a local gamer, says the appeal comes from spending long hours practicing, to having the chance to play against people from all over the country.

Playing video games has become more than just a hobby for Martinez. In fact, his favorite past-time has become a part-time job.

“The amount of preparation, the mental strength that they need to stay in the game, that's all very important," says Martinez.

Martinez is not only a sponsored player who hopes to someday travel nationally to play in large scale competitions, but he also acts as the tournament organizer locally for a game played on Nintendo consoles called Super Smash Brothers.

These tournaments are weekly and monthly events hosted by the Reno Smash Community at the University of Nevada and Atlantis Resort. Martinez says in the two years that he's been involved with competitive game play; regional participation has been on the rise.

"Very humble beginnings, but over time I see that we're stepping it up in terms of attendance, production value, every aspect of it is increasing," says Martinez.

According to ESPN, where eSport competitions are televised worldwide, the eSport viewership of more than 200 million people is expected to grow 21% year over year. That kind of growth has Ben McDonald with our local visitor’s authority agreeing that this popular trend can help to increase tourism business.

"The RSCVA has been in contact for quite a few months with three of the main organizers for national tournaments like this," says McDonald. "If we could get something like that here in Reno it would definitely help out the economy and something that we could grow and build into the future."