eSports, which stands for electronic sports, is a form of sport competition by using video games. It is one of the fastest-growing global sports and billion dollar industries today. eSports are growing and expanding to college campuses across the country.
It can open doors and pathways for countless careers, not just as a player, gamer or a designer but also things such as marketing, media and communication, business management, coaching, creative writing, storytelling and more.
VWU eSports is staffed by Program Director/Coach Chris Davis and Coach Glenn Johnson. The Marlin eSports Arena is located on the second floor of the Batten Center and is equipped with 17 high end gaming PCs featuring ASUS Prime z390-P motherboards, Intel 9th Gen i7 processors, 16 GB ADATA Gammix RAM, MSI GeForce RTX 2070 Armor GPUs and MSI Optix 24-inch gaming monitors.
VWU eSports teams are 3-6 members, depending on the game. Students are invited to play based on interest and tryouts have been held for each team.
VWU eSports just recently started their Rocket League season. Johnson said, “We just had our first two matches this past Tuesday, against Campbellsville University and ECPI University, and won both of those. We have matches for this season currently scheduled for 8 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. each Tuesday in the month of October.” He also added, “Overwatch and League of Legends are still working on getting themselves into some events until their seasons start. League of Legends will be in their official season starting at the end of January, though the exact dates have not been sent out. Overwatch has some events planned but not finalized yet for November, with exact dates coming soon. Unfortunately, with how new the Collegiate eSports Environment is, schedules are hard to get organized and sometimes don’t even come together until the last moment,”
The VWU eSports Arena holds 17 gaming setups. Johnson said, “Initially, it was made so that 16 of the systems would be for players and there is one coach’s station. The coach’s station has a large TV that is mounted on the wall, so that match reviews can be done from that system and seen throughout the room.” The VWU eSports arena is accessible by keycard entry, so that only the players and coaching staff can go into the arena freely. This is a great feature so that only coaches and players can access their arena when needed and not just anyone throughout the student body.
Coach Johnson added that, “Our teams are pretty much set at this point. We had put out open tryouts for each team back at the beginning of the fall semester, to offer anyone interested the opportunity to try out and potentially make the teams”.
The current pandemic has had little impact on the eSports team. Johnson said “Fortunately for us, COVID has not had as much impact on us as most other forms of competition. Since the games we play are all online games, it is still possible to practice and keep socially distanced. Due to the need to properly socially distance, the eSports Arena is not being utilized as it has been in the past. We have reduced the occupancy and taken all necessary precautions to allow partial usage,”
Johnson also added that “the best ways to keep tabs on the Esports teams is to follow our twitter @VwuEsports and to follow our Twitch at twitch.tv/vwu_esports”.