Gaming is not just for recreation. It is becoming lucrative. Enter, e-sports “the next level of video game experience”. E-sports is a new category of entertainment that is a bridge between video gaming and sports. It is projected to be a $1.6 Billion industry by 2020 with a global audience of nearly 380 million people, according to Newzoo, an Amsterdam-based research firm. Nellie Bowles, a New York Times E-sports reporter writes, “The Paris Olympics in 2024 are now in talks to include gaming as a demonstration sport.” Take-Two Interactive, a large game developer, teamed up with the NBA creating a video game league that is streamed on Twitch. Commercial e-sports is not the only game in town. College e-sports is an evolving activity.
The National Association of Collegiate E-sports (NACE) offered $100,000 in scholarship prizes for its Fall 2018 competitions. It is a 501 C 3 non-profit membership association using best practices, with leadership elected from member institutions. It is “the only association of Varsity e-sports programs in the U.S. having nearly all institutions with programs under one organization” according to their website. Ohio’s Ashland University (AU) announced recruitment for their new Fall 2018 team including $4000 talent scholarships for e-sports. Ashland describes it as, “blazing a new trail.” They are creating an e-sports arena on the first floor of the AU Library. It will house an area for practice and competition including, “a state-of-the-art gaming center featuring 25 high-end gaming PCs and gaming chairs (with) two 65” high-definition televisions for coaching and entertainment purposes.” Posh spaces and expensive equipment are a bonus, but not a requirement of the sport. E-sports can be developed on community college campuses with little start-up money and equipment.
LCCC interested to join the e-sports industry
Jim Powers, assistant professor, assistant athletic director and head coach of the men’s cross country team at LCCC, is interested in developing an e-sports club team with LCCC’s Gamers’ Paradise student gaming club. Powers recently sponsored the Nov. 30, Super Smash Bros. Tournament at LCCC. Thirty students attended the free entrance, no-fee competition. Pizza and T-shirt prizes were donated by LCCC’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) department. Luis Santiago, reigning champ and early college student, won the tournament. Powers says, “I envision LCCC’s Gamers’ Paradise to step into the role as an established club to compete against teams at Tri-C West and Ashland University as a pioneer for a potential LCCC e-sports program.”
Many students agree with Powers. Jenna Johnson, a graphic design student, is an active Gamers’ Paradise member who agrees that they should establish an e-sports team at LCCC. She says, “It would be a test of skills and many of our members are competitive at that level.” Duncan Burr, security delegate for Gamers’ Paradise and a second year technical and mechanical design student, agrees and adds, “We have an established, organized gaming club, the largest student club on campus, that is ready to take on this e-sports role.” Joining the NACE is the next step after establishing competitions between Tri-C and Ashland. Powers and Brandon Brown, adviser for Gamers’ Paradise Club and LCCC security officer, see this as a natural evolution of the Gamers’ Paradise club here at LCCC.
For information contact Powers at 440 366-7652 or Brown at 440 366-4053 or email GamersParadiseClub@lorainccc.edu.