LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Calling all video game players, Cameron University has officially entered the world of competitive video game playing, known as esports.
Esports has exploded across the world in recent years and now Cameron University is looking to get involved and take it to the next level. They have 12 state of the art gaming centers and now, all they need is students to fill them. While not everyone may be fully aware of the growth of competitive video game playing, it has slowly become just as big, if not bigger, than many major sports.
"Last year alone at several world championship events, more people attended the world championship events than attended American football games. They're filling 70,000 or 80,000 seat stadiums. More people have watched these world championships on television than last year watched the NBA Finals,” said Kelly McClure, Director of IT Services for Cameron University.
People from all over the world will compete in tournaments where they play a variety of different games. With that many viewers, significant money can now be made playing video games, as seen a few weeks back when a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania won $3 million playing in a tournament for the popular game Fortnite. While that type of money is possible, professor Christopher Keller said it won’t be the Cameron team’s main focus, rather they’ll use the team to educate.
"I call it nerd marketability. We teach people how to take all of their weirdness and their crazy nerdness and do something with it, turn it into a marketable ability. We’re teaching people how to speak, how to think, how to write and you take all that crazy nerdness and you turn it in. I’ve turned it into a career,” Keller said.
Keller said they will also teach communications skills, such as knowing how to announce live events and how to talk to large crowds. They’ll do that using their state-of-the-art gaming equipment, paid for thanks to a grant from the McMahon Foundation.
"Each battle station consists of a very high-end computer and high-end monitor. In fact, what we’ve tried to do, thanks to the generosity of the McMahon Foundation, is try to create battle stations that have state of the art computing equipment on it. These are Alienware computers with extremely high-end processors, extremely high-end graphics cards. They also have a very high-speed network connection, over 1 GB per second speeds,” McClure said.
The Cameron team will use that equipment to compete against teams from other universities around the country. But first, they need people to join the team.
"The great thing about esports is it doesn’t care who is on the other end of the keyboard. There will be competitive female players, competitive graduate students, competitive undergraduate students. As long as they are students at Cameron University, they are able to try out and compete on the team. My goal, and Kelly and I have talked deeply about this, is to not turn any student away initially,” Keller said.
Tryouts for the team will begin Monday, August 19th. You can sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To start things off, the team will be competing in three games called League of Legends, Overwatch and Super Smash Bros. But in the future, they will look into other games like Rocket League and many more.