American high schools in at least 15 states will be rolling out varsity eSports programs in 2018 thanks to a program spearheaded by PlayVS, a startup building online and offline infrastructure for high school eSports. The inaugural season begins in October 2018 with competition expected in three genres: multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, fighting games, and sports games.
College Varsity Level
Varsity-level eSports programs have been active at the college level for a number of years, growing from just one program in 2014 at Robert Morris University in Illinois to more than 60 colleges and universities that currently offer “official” eSports programs. Currently, Variety.com estimates that “nearly 200 colleges in the U.S. and Canada are actively recruiting and offering scholarships to (eSports) players.”
Such offerings at both the college and high school levels engage a wide range of students in organized after-school activities, recognizes them through competitions and awards, offers thousands of dollars in scholarships at the collegiate level, and provides professional opportunities for eSports athletes during their school years and beyond.
In a recent article appearing on engadget.com, Mike Nealy, executive director of the Fiesta Bowl, explained that his perception of eSports and eSports participants changed dramatically after his organization hosted the sold-out Overwatch Collegiate Championship at Arizona State University earlier this year. “My perception was (of an) out-of-shape kid that’s eating Cheetos and playing a game, and can’t talk socially, and is a basket case athletically,” Nealy said. “No, these are normal kids. …This is just a different avenue. They’re smart, intelligent and very capable individuals that have found a niche and are doing something that they enjoy doing.”
eSports Now a Sanctioned High School Sport
Earlier this spring, the National Federation of State High Schools, in partnership with PlayVS, announced that it would roll out eSports nationwide, adding video games such as League of Legends and Super Smash Bros to its list of more “traditional” sanctioned high school sports such as football, soccer, field hockey, swimming, and diving. As a result, sooner rather than later, we are seeing whole new class of high school athletes emerge, which is expected to act as a feeder program for college programs and further accelerate eSports growth.
At the high school level, eSports athletes will be able to build their own teams regardless of experience, gender, or age, and there will be no limit on how many teams a school can have.
- There will be two seasons each school year, October through January and February through May.
- eSports participants will represent their schools and compete for championships, with the potential to earn varsity letters playing their favorite video games competitively.
- Matches will be played online using PlayVS’ platform, eventually leading to playoffs and a state championship.
- Some playoff and championship games are expected to be played in front of live audiences.
- No “shooter” style games of any kind will be allowed.
Mobile Edge Supports eSports Athletes
Mobile Edge prides itself on its longstanding support of gamers and eSports athletes by continuously innovating new designs and new products that offer cutting edge mobility solutions for a wide range of gaming and eSports needs.
CORE GAMING BACKPACK
Named the 2017 VIP Award Winner in TWICE Magazine’s PC Accessories category, the Core Gaming Backpack is functional, stylish, innovative, and popular with gamers, techies, travelers, students, road warriors, and busy professionals.
- Sized to hold all popular models of gaming laptops (up to 17″ – 18″) and with three large storage sections pre-wired for a power bank or external battery, the full-featured CORE Gaming Backpack offers the ultimate in transport, protection, storage, and easy access to gaming gear, accessories, and other cool tech.
- Gamers and their followers may be particularly interested in the Core Gaming Backpack with Velcro panel, which features a Velcro panel on which athletes and fans can affix patches and emblems of their favorite teams.
MOBILE POWER SUPPLIES
eSports participants need power and performance on the go, and Mobile Edge’s CORE product line offers two options to meet the mobile power supply needs of users:
- CORE Power AC USB (27,000mAh Portable Laptop Charger)—The compact and versatile CORE Power AC, with its massive battery capacity, provides extreme power and performance for even your most power-hungry devices. It features a universal AC outlet that delivers an incredible 85 watts of power. With 27,000mAh, you can plug in and power laptops and personal electronics, as well as USB devices.
- CORE Power (26,800mAh Portable USB Battery/Charger)—The CORE Power battery/charger easily slips into a backpack, briefcase, handbag, or carry-on for reliable universal portable power at your fingertips. Works with smartphones, tablets, cameras, speakers, drones, Bluetooth headsets, wearables, and other USB devices.
Gear Up Your Student Athlete
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For the next 10 days, enter Promo code ESPTGROW when you check out from Mobile Edge’s online store and get 20% off your purchase of a CORE Gaming Backpack or a CORE power accessory, with free shipping on orders of more than $75.