Esports looking to expand

By Reggie Austin

Since 2014, the rise in popularity for video gaming and streaming has been unmatched. Esports or electronic sports is the competitive world of gaming. The viewership of gaming tournaments and other gamers streaming is unprecedented.

The statistics are undeniable. In a report from newzoo, the amount of casual viewers and esports enthusiasts will grow to 557 million in 2021.

Some colleges are now adopting esports teams to bring in more revenue. Esports made approximately $906 million in 2018, and the number is bound to continue growing. There are 161 colleges and universities who have varsity esports teams.

Other schools in the Great Lakes Valley Conference such as Maryville University, Southwest Baptist University, Lewis University and Lindenwood University have their own respective teams in the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE).

James Barlow is a QU alum and loves playing video games. He expressed his interest in joining an esports team.

“I wish we had a team when I was there, there’s so many different games and tournaments to play,” Barlow said.

His favorite game to play, Fortnite. Fortnite is a free to play last man standing third person shooter game.

The game has received a boost in popularity with popular streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Turner “Tfue” Tenney and Herschel Beahm IV aka Dr. Disrespect. Fortnite hosted a World Cup for the players of the game, handing out more than $30 million in prizes.

Mikah Bange is a junior soccer player at Culver-Stockton College. She offered some insight on the esports team at her school.

“We barely see the people on the team since they are always playing and practicing for tournaments,” Bange said.

Culver-Stockton College is currently offering scholarships for players in the following games:

  • League of Legends
  • Overwatch
  • Hearthstone
  • Rocket League
  • Counter Strike Global Offensive
  • Call of Duty

Bange went on to talk about supporting her friends and their streams.

“I like to watch my friends with their Twitch accounts. I’d rather be playing the real game but it’s so fun to watch,” Bange said.

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