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Expanding ESports in Higher ED

Get your ESports game on

In the latest podcast episode of EDTech, host Erin Maher-Moran spoke with experts Scott Tiner, Rob Rasberry, Ernie Bailey, and Johanna Pierson about the increased interest in and positive impacts of eSports in higher education. While college students getting together to play video games isn’t new, this audiovisual (AV) advancement is highly beneficial to both students and the institutions they attend.

ESports in Higher Ed AV

Today, many colleges and universities have eSports teams. While most eSports aren’t treated on the same level as varsity sports, there is still a lot of potential from eSports to consider, especially in revenue. College eSports events and outfittings are somewhat popular today, with eSports generally becoming more popular in the wake of COVID-19. In light of this popularity, eSports events and arenas have become great venues for colleges and organizations to show off different technologies and make their campuses more enticing.

For example, the University of North Carolina’s Gaming Arena is a high-quality venue for all sorts of eSports, from Madden22 to Call of Duty. The arena is equipped with an intricate AV setup, including mood lighting, reliable audio systems, interactive gaming chairs, and color-changing tables that light up when it’s a group’s turn.

Outside of colleges, eSports are increasingly popular in K-12 schools and particularly high schools. Many schools now offer scholarships for achievements in eSports, and some schools even provide the varsity letter “S” for eSports participants.

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The Value of Virtual Sports

As technology professional Scott Tiner admitted in the podcast, it can be difficult for older generations or people just coming into eSports to fully understand its value. While, at a base level, many eSports groups and events are just people getting together to play video games, there is substantial evidence to justify their intellectual and physical value.

Helping Students Improve

According to studies, video games have been found to improve brain functioning, such as memory, cognitive abilities, and reaction times. When institutionalized in the form of higher education eSports, video games have been found to improve students’ grades, social engagement, and leadership skills. They can also be helpful for career preparation, which is why many high schools have also adopted eSports.

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While acknowledging their benefits, it’s also important to recognize the potential dangers of video games. While many studies have shown positive results from students playing video games, others have shown negative effects, such as decreased focus, dipping grades, and impaired social skills. Fortunately, the introduction of eSports into schools may solve this. Now, instead of playing alone for hours on end, gamers can commune with one another for fixed amounts of time with clear social goals. College and high school students will play video games no matter what, so why not make it productive?

Worthwhile Investments for Colleges

On top of the benefits to students, eSports are bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in the United States alone. Capcom, best known for games like Street Fighter and Resident Evil, gave around $2 million in their most recent Capcom Cup X championship. Clearly, there’s money in this market.

Because of this, eSports could be a very beneficial investment to many colleges, universities, and other institutions, especially for larger universities or tech-focused colleges. A fully-stocked gaming arena like the University of North Carolina could make the college more appealing to prospective students, as the campus experience is just as important to many students as education.

AudioVisual Technologies in ESports

Securing the right AV technologies is part of establishing a reliable and enticing eSports program. While not all campuses need massive, high-tech arenas, investing in high-quality speakers, microphones, lights, and monitors can make eSports more appealing to students and generate more revenue.

Beyond this, on-campus eSports can be an incredible opportunity for students interested in AV careers. Like a tech person in a theater program, an aspiring AV professional may be able to get involved with an eSports arena’s “behind the scenes” setup. ESports can also entice students seeking careers in coding, graphic design, writing, and other jobs in the video game industry.

ED Tech

To learn more about ESports in higher education, along with the impact of Integrated Systems Europe 2023 and Sony’s new AI-based cameras, check out the fourth podcast episode of EDTech. In this episode, titled “The Milk Club,” host Erin Maher-Moran speaks with education and AV experts about what we can expect from the future of eSports and why it’s such a worthwhile investment for universities and colleges. Listen to the podcast from our website or check out the video on YouTube.

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