By Emily Nguyen, Eric Spyropoulos and Dania Zamudio
John Chau is a collegiate esports player who spends hours playing video games. His day consists of going to classes and practicing with his teammates and coaches. “We have a reserved area where the scholarship players can play. On the weekends, they usually come in before the arena opens and play scrims and all that.”
This is an example of an esports team. PHOTO CREDIT: Adobe Spark Library
Chau attends Columbia College in Missouri with a full scholarship for esports; he is one of many around the world who play college-level esports. “Currently I’m attending school at Columbia College, under a full scholarship for esports. I’ve been playing the game at a very high level and I wanted to complete my degree with the program and my ideals aligned," he explained.
Esports describes the world of organized, competitive video gaming. The same games are popular with at-home gamers. Famous esports Players from different teams compete against each other in video games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and Overwatch. Players are viewed and followed by millions of fans worldwide who attend live events or watch on TV or online.
Chau is one of these many esports players. “My advice for someone who wants to play professionally or take the game to the next level would be to make sure to study the game," he said. "It’s not enough to just play the game. Make sure to take the game seriously at all times and try to take something away from each game that you play.”
With the rise of popularity in esports, there are now recruiters, coaches and dedicated stadiums. Esports have developed into an estimated $906 million industry. 200 U.S. colleges offer scholarships worth about $15 million a year, and university teams will earn millions more in tournament awards.
This is a picture of gaming arena. PHOTO CREDIT: Adobe Spark Library
William Shay, a current student for University of California: Irvine, recently started as Student Staff for UCI esports. “What that means is that I help manage the arena on campus, so managing people's time on computers, troubleshooting tech issues, making sure nobody is causing any problems, and assisting full-time staff as needed.”
At UCI, current or incoming students can apply for scholarships through esports. Shay added, “We offer League of Legends and Overwatch, and, this year, and we are offering Smash Ultimate scholarships.”
In addition to financial aid, scholarship players gain access to a variety of personal and academic wellness programs courtesy of UCI esports. Shay went on to say, “Scholarship teams also have access to physical fitness trainers.”
This Is A Picture Of Gaming Setup PHOTO CREDIT: Adobe Spark Library
Currently UCI tournaments and competitions are sponsored by big branded companies: “We have sponsorship from iBUYPOWER and Mountain Dew and a few others.”
According to statista.com, “There were an estimated 25.7 million eSports viewers in the United States in 2018.” In comparison, according to sportsvideo.org, the 2018 NBA Finals received only 18.5 million views.
The world of competitive video gaming is an international phenomenon that is growing rapidly with millions of fans and billions of dollars to grab.
Onlinebusiness.syr.edu states, “Amazon bought Twitch for nearly $1 billion in 2014, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.” Streaming services and live events have turned casual gamers into major stars that can bring in seven figures at times.
NACE is the National Association of Collegiate esports. It’s the only association of varsity esports programs at colleges and universities across the U.S. It has over 170 member schools and more that 5,000 esport players.
This photo was taken by GL514 At Dream Hack
Although esports popularity increasing, not a lot of people are aware of it. Some people in the Summit Public Schools: Tahoma community aren’t as interested either.
Tahoma freshman Kaya Grusu said esports are “OK, I guess. I wouldn't do it myself.” He added that he’s only watched esports “like one time” and that it was a game of CSGO. Later adding, “It was pretty boring.”
This Is A Photo Of Gaming setup PHOTO CREDIT: Adobe Spark Library
Grusu was asked if he could see esports becoming more popular, and he said, “Yeah, because they're already more popular now than they were before so they should become more popular.”
GameDesigning.org reports, “While many in positions of power are slow to accept the place esports have in this world, everything is moving in the right direction.”