E-Sports on the rise in the West


Those who play MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) style games as well as FPS (first-person shooter) games know that e-sports are becoming a rather big deal.  Overseas, especially in countries like South Korea, many have taken to e-sports with a rather serious nature.  It now appears, however, that the U.S. is finally beginning to follow suit.


An article posted by the NY Times highlights some of the progression that the U.S. has seen in the field of e-sports.  At San Jose State University in Northern California, there is a competitive video game team.  A student, Loc Tran, commented on the school’s victory over California State University this past June.  He speaks of how “a lot of people” stop him when he walks, much in the manner of a student congratulating a member of a sports team after winning a big victory.  “They congratulate me,” says Tran.


It is not just San Jose State that has taken to e-sports.  According to the NY Times, more than 10,000 students now play in the league of e-sports, which is a number that grew by 4,400 compared to last year.  This even includes schools such as Harvard and Florida State University.  And to sweeten the deal, there are now big incentives for winning competitions.  Students have been known to win tuition money.  And in an innovative move, the athletic department at the University of Illinois in Chicago has created an official video game team which allows students access to scholarships on the level of other athletic teams.


While there has been much progression, concerns have also been raised.  Some wonder if the time it takes to hone one’s skills in e-sports could affect academics.  There are also concerns as to what will happen if e-sports gain official recognition on campuses countrywide.  Those involved in the society of e-sports aren’t exactly known for gender equality, which could present a unique issue if they are pressed to meet with demands of other recognized athletic teams on campus as far as providing equal opportunities for both genders to compete (female and male leagues).


As far as its entertainment value, this has been recognized by larger companies as of late.  Amazon recently acquired Twitch, a service in which users stream gameplay, for almost $1 billion.