E-Sports are video game sports competitions. This popular trend has soared in the past few years throughout college campuses in the United States, including even Harvard University. Although competitive sports in a virtual form might not be the most traditional concept, this should be of little surprise, since we are living in an age where technology is our new way of living. Computers have changed the way we live, and especially in a college setting where students have their computer screens in front of their face at all times and are at the prime age of being constantly connected.
Winning a large tournament can often times allow students to pay for a large part of their college tuition. At the University of Illinois, the athletic department even created their own official video game, which offers scholarships similar to those given to real-life athletes who play for their college soccer or football team.
College e-sports most certainly began as an effort from student sports fanatics, however, game makers did not waste any time in stepping in as well, taking advantage of the vast popularity. The video game companies now offer prizes as large as college scholarships, as well as provide team banners and organizational support. The companies understand that they have a new generation of ‘superfans’ at hand, fans who both play the games and also view it as a spectator sport.
And while game developers are really making the most of the situation, they are not following the traditional college sports rules, such as grade point requirements for athletes, or limits on amounts of practice time. E-sports have increased so much that many schools do not even how to handle it, or how to understand it. The National Collegiate Athletic Association said it has nothing to say about e-sports on colleges campuses. And game companies on the other hand, also say they are yet to predict how the administrations of college will become involved in the e-sports process.
It appears as though there are both pros and cons of e-sports becoming a part of college life, and it is yet to be decided by many college administrations how to understand it. The time invested in these video games could, of course, raise issues of not investing enough time in academic studies. And for the gaming companies, if the video games are formally recognized then it could rid the ability that developers have on campuses to do as they please without following official college rules. The appeal of being on campus makes it easy for game developers, however, to pull in sports fans.
The main benefit for college students is that they have more opportunities for scholarships. The League of Legends, one of the most popular games in the video gaming world have lead to six private schools developing scholarships.
Furthermore, this allows everyone to be an athlete, even gamers with little physical ability, or even those that are physically disabled. Gamers can now be athletes too, and this does not mean they are not using a certain talent or specific skills to win.
E-sports has undoubtedly made their place within colleges, and some institutions have successfully incorporated it as part of their campus. However, there are still many colleges that have yet to be on the same page as the video-games. Or perhaps the developers need to compromise with the administrations as well. Both parties can benefit from each other, if they allow for it, of course.