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Colleges Are Starting Varsity Programs For Video Games (theoutline.com) 68

An anonymous reader shares an article: Professional esports -- competitive video game playing as a spectator sport -- is surging in the U.S., with revenues in the hundreds of millions and growing fast. So it's little surprise that collegiate esports -- in which universities field their own teams just as they would for baseball or basketball -- has been been growing as well, to the point where players are now sometimes earning scholarships that pay their entire tuition. Stephen's College, an all-women's college in Columbia, Missouri, announced a varsity esports program two weeks ago. The University of Utah did the same in early April. The growth of varsity esports teams is phenomenal, said Michael Brooks, executive director at the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE), a non-profit organization that is working to set standards and build infrastructure for the scene. NACE launched in September to advocate for college esports, initiate communication between schools, and provide information to program directors interested in varsity esports programs. At the time, there were only seven varsity esports programs in North America. Now there are 34 varsity programs in total, and 31 are members of NACE. Brooks expects the number of varsity programs to double by August.
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Colleges Are Starting Varsity Programs For Video Games

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  • Gamers are predominantly male. Won't catering to yet another male dominated activity create a hostile and exclusionary environment on campus?

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      You know, it is possible to take this social justice thing too far.

  • On the plus side... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2017 @06:21PM (#54344317) Journal
    As much as people like to complain about video card costs; it should be fairly difficult for this nonsense to be nearly as expensive as the more traditional flavors of college sportsball.
    • it should be fairly difficult for this nonsense to be nearly as expensive as the more traditional flavors of college sportsball.

      E-sports has one expense that ball sports lack, namely a royalty payable to each game's publisher. The owner of copyright in a proprietary video game has the exclusive right to authorize public performance of its audiovisual work, and a game's publisher can sue any school that streams its matches or makes captures available for later viewing without a license.

      • Having not read the article, two thoughts come to mind:

        1.) Game leagues require a network effect - if there's only one team per division because only one school can afford it, it's going to be a bit difficult for a game to become entrenched at the college level. If Blizzard makes competitive Starcraft fees problematically high, Riot Games can undercut them, and if they're too high, call Epic Games to undercut and use Unreal Tournament or whatever. I'm sure "becoming the de facto standard game played in eSpo

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          If Blizzard makes competitive Starcraft fees problematically high, Riot Games can undercut them

          Riot Games is legally prohibited from providing StarCraft. If you're referring to a school dropping one e-sport in favor another, I don't see how skills from one game necessarily transfer any more than skills from baseball transfer to cricket or vice versa.

          license for peanuts until the matches can start paying themselves.

          In other words, dump licenses [wikipedia.org] until you're a monopoly and then jack up the rates.

          Don't competitive gaming leagues already exist? Don't they have rates somewhere?

          Professional leagues run into the same problem. See Ars Technica's article about e-sports copyright [arstechnica.com].

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        E-sports has one expense that ball sports lack, namely a royalty payable to each game's publisher. The owner of copyright in a proprietary video game has the exclusive right to authorize public performance of its audiovisual work, and a game's publisher can sue any school that streams its matches or makes captures available for later viewing without a license.

        You'll be surprised, but varsity leagues for regular athletic sports have the same restrictions and often charge their members fees for participation

        • varsity leagues for regular athletic sports have the same restrictions and often charge their members fees for participation as well.

          A set of schools that play a ball sport is free to start a new league without having to pay the owner of exclusive rights in the sport. This isn't true of an e-sport.

          And yes, there can often be restrictions on who can broadcast what as well, which happens just as often in the professional leagues as well (NFL is a well know abuser to take down "illegal" rebroadcasts. Olympics are another).

          The difference is that with ball sports, these rights are controlled only by the league, not by the owner of a whole sport. NFL is one gridiron football league; others exist, and no law prevents a few hundred athletes from starting their own, such as USFL and XFL. Olympics is a league; there are other leagues for every sport contested at IOC ev

  • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2017 @08:40PM (#54345149)

    As a parent of 2 young kids its a constant struggle to get them to play outdoor sports instead of video games. One argument I have been using is it may help you get a college scholarship if you are good at a sport. Now that argument is going away I wonder what excuse to get them out in the fresh air.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      How about "ball sports are less likely than e-sports to get you sued for copyright infringement if you stream your matches publicly"?

    • On the other hand, you can more easily streamline your future college choices by weeding out schools that have a varsity esports program.

  • That whole competitive video gaming thing seems like one enormous scam targeted at gullible children. Seriously who the fuck are the mindless drones that basically play one gamer over and over and over and over and over, to bloody infinity. The most mind blowing stupendously boring and pointless activity. I like gaming, I like learning new games, I like games with replayability but fuck being forced to play the same game over and over and over again driven by greed and empty bullshit marketing targeted at c

    • Sorry gramps, you'll never understand.
      • Because these aren't sports. If we try to understand by using the dictionary and encyclopedias it still doesn't make sense.

        Video game clubs makes sense, but they NOT sports. If they want to have different schools with video game clubs competing against each other (and tuition fees don't pay for it) then that's fine also, but that's still not the same as sports. The video game players may be just as rude as real sports jocks and shove the lesser nerds heads in the toilet, but that still doesn't mean it's a

    • I wonder the same about traditional sports. I see overweight, middle-aged men watching young, fit males work out together all hot and sweaty -- I'd rather watch straight porn, or even female gymnastics.
    • by mick129 ( 126225 )

      That whole competitive video gaming thing seems like one enormous scam targeted at gullible children. Seriously who the fuck are the mindless drones that basically play one gamer over and over and over and over and over, to bloody infinity.

      Why do people spectate traditional sports? I don't do it myself much, but I get the impression it is to enjoy the skill of impressive players.

      Do you let your heart bleed for traditional sports players? They're playing the SAME GAME over and over, so sad.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Tuesday May 02, 2017 @09:36PM (#54345349)

    I had to beat off the throngs of adoring coeds with my slide rule.

  • They smell money and want a piece. 'Student' gamers who don't get paid next?
    • will all of dumb NCAA rules so you got a free video card from ATI to bad you lose and your student loans are now 80K

  • In Japan, they do tank battles as a sport.

  • Further evidence that the U.S. educational system is a complete joke. The inclusion of physical sports is absurd and needs to be eliminated. Just because they're now including a more geek-friendly kind of competition doesn't make it any more acceptable. The world is laughing at us. AGAIN. There's going to come a time when a degree from a U.S. "college" (let alone an actual University) is worthless.

  • ...but... Colleges should not be allowed to give scholarships for anything other than academics or financial need and still keep their tax-exempt status. The reason for hiring the best athletes (the reason for sports scholarships) is to make money. Since it's a for-profit enterprise, it should be taxed.

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