ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - Altus High School has officially entered the world of competitive video game playing.
Competitive video game playing, known as esports, has skyrocketed in the last few years, with competitions being watched by millions of people online. Back in August, 7NEWS told you about Cameron University’s newly founded team and now the trend continues to grow in southwest Oklahoma as Altus High School has created a team open to all of their students.
At their last meeting, the Altus Public School Board voted to officially bring the world of esports to their campus.
"This is going to be great for the whole school, all kinds of varieties of kids, that maybe aren’t involved in sports or say, band, something that they can all get into and socialize,” said Altus High School student Jackson Falon.
The school is having open signups for the team, which will meet after school and on Saturdays. Within the first 24 hours of those signups, more than 40 students took advantage.
"I’m proud of our students, proud to be a bulldog. We want to be the school of choice, so we are excited to be the first school in southwest Oklahoma to do esports. We’re hoping it just gets bigger and better and everybody else will just join in and it becomes a big thing in southwest Oklahoma,” said Altus Public Schools Superintendent Roe Worbes.
The students will be playing games like Super Smash Brothers and Madden.
"There are five different games we’ll be playing, all of them are student-friendly. No violence, no guns, just fun games to play. We’re hoping to have our first tournament in January,” Worbes said.
Worbes said he thinks this program could be life-changing for some of the students.
“I’m hoping that it will encourage them to get involved in Altus Public Schools and Altus High School. Maybe they’re behind the scenes and don’t want to be out in the public, I’m hoping this will help them with their social skills, their pride in Altus Public Schools and their self-confidence," Worbes said.
Both Worbes and Falon say they can see the program’s impact stretching far beyond the school.
"The board has approved us to get some video boards for our sporting events in the gymnasium so we’re hoping at some point to be able to film the competitions on the video boards and let the spectators come watch,” Worbes said.
"I think this can become something that just becomes a well-known event in the entire community. Something that we’ll post on a newspaper and online hey come out and support this event on Friday. Years and years from now, almost something that can be as popular as the football team,” Falon said.
Colleges across the country, just like Cameron, are also getting into the world of esports and with college teams come scholarships. Worbes said getting interested kids involved early will give them opportunities for potential scholarships and in some cases future careers in esports.