Esports grow in popularity among universities

The rise of the video game industry is nothing new, according to Forbes, the industry is estimated to reach $70.1 billion by 2015 combined with mobile, PC, console and online gaming.

With this rise in the industry, there is also a new competition being brought. This new competition has earned the name esports.

For those who are not familiar with the term, esports are essentially video game competitions between professional gamers.

That sounds simple enough but like people that play any other sport, professional gamers are playing at the highest possible level.

While I will say that playing a video game is not what people normally think of when you say sport, playing these games does require a specific set of skills and talents that most people don’t possess without the proper amount of training and conditioning.

Some might wonder how you can even live off of playing games. Well, for one they get paid a salary by a team much like any football or basketball player would.

Secondly, is tournament winnings. For example the 2014 League of Legends world championship was played for a prize pool of over 2 million dollars with 1 million going to the first place winners.

Another question that comes around is how interesting can it be to watch people play a video game? Just to give you some numbers to go by, according to the NBA finals had an average viewership of 15.5 million.

According to a statement by the developers of the popular online game League of Legends, Riot Games, pulled in 27 million viewers for the finals that were held in South Korea.

With the fan base of these games growing, many colleges are looking to get these competitions on their campus. Over the last year, several colleges around the United States have started to offer scholarships for people that play games on a competitive level.

Two of these include San Jose State University located in Northern California and Robert Morris University Illinois Located in Chicago.

These schools have gone all out going as far as adding the game to the athletics department and also hiring coaches for the students. The students also have to uphold a certain GPA as well as setting aside certain time for practice.

This is a great thing that more and more colleges should adapt into their schools. The popularity of these games is growing at a fast pace and collegiate leagues are popping up all round the United States for games such as Hearthstone, League of Legends and my personal favorite, Starcraft 2.

With this being said, the schools could also make a couple of bucks in the process. Having a good collegiate level gaming program could be to some schools what Auburn or Alabama’s football team is to their respective universities.

Chris Morgan
Staff Writer

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