College eSports Teams & Age in Gaming

By David Piner -
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Let’s talk college eSport teams today. Forgive me if I’m a bit slow today, I cut my hand on a shipping tape thing and it’s really uncomfortable, but I do want to talk a little bit about the idea of college eSports team and just age in general. Let’s talk college teams.

Hold up, disclaimer, I TRY to stay talking about MMOs as much as possible, but while not every eSport game is an MMO, many MMOs are eSport games or associated in some capacity.

College eSports

Ya know what sucks, the fact that we culturally celebrate kids sitting in their dorms doing nothing but playing games and getting drunk instead of doubling down on their education, which will no doubt keep them in debt until their 40s if they’re not careful.

In days of ‘ol, kids went outside and played sports. These sports became a pastime of sorts, and colleges began adopting them into sort of an extra-curricular thing that’s now a massive income generator for many public and private colleges. Of course, you have to be fit and at your prime to roll up there and tackle someone like the beast you are. You have to be really fit and competition has made it where eh, why bother, unless you’re groomed as a child to be an all-star player or have that rock solid determination to get it.

So kids these days sit and play games, specifically, eSports and shooters by a huge margin. So why don’t colleges get together and start hosting college eSport teams. It’s such a good idea and is actually one of the few sports that can help the college.

Let’s look at it this way, you need a lot of tech supplies and a lot of gear setup, a lot of networking done to make it work. Colleges with a compsci department could have a field day using the setups as a teaching lesson. Each tournament usually has different games, with different setups, and the total outlay for all the gear is almost next to nothing, but the income generation could be through the roof.

Let’s say each gaming rig cost the college $5,000 USD. Let’s say they were throwing GTX-Titans in there like they were water, using water cooling, and everything every nerd would dream of. That’s $50,000 for equipment, plus another $10,000 for extras. In 2008, the GA Bulldogs spent $71,993,533 on college football, including tuition. Of that, $8,300,790 was spent on just the games themselves. The total income was $85,554,395, giving a ROI of $13,560,862 to the college.

Let’s focus on the 8 million number. A top of the line retail for an Alienware Aurora w/ monitor plus a mouse and some patch cables would be $5,000. There are 10 players in most MOBAs, so you’d need about 15 of them (extras if one fails) to start with, but let’s go with 20. That’s just $100,000 and you know obviously the college is gonna get these at a beast of a discount. Let’s say another $100,000 for game consoles, games, tables, and I’d say let’s throw in some for some big screens, but most colleges have many venues already setup for this.

In total, I think, it’d be about a $500,000 a year for a college to have a proper eSports team and be capable of hosting the venues. From that, the revenue they could generate not only from ticket sales, but from online avenues - plus if ESPN gets some of the pie, would easily be in the $5~$10 million.

Coaches for eSports aren’t at the $8 million plus salaries yet, so that’s the only remaining obstacle. So let’s get this going. Chicago is on board, Robert Morris University Illinois is down with the idea of scholarships for eSport stars. So come on, let’s see this happen. Heck, their 50% tuition/room/board is awesome enough for something starting off. Let’s get to it. It’s financially smart, it resonates with modern students, and it could help remove a ton of stigma associated with gaming.

Like they say in StarCraft, gogogogogogogo.

Age and Gaming

I made some remarks in the last article about why I think retirement at 27 for eSport stars is kinda dumb. I think that gaming is one of the things where age means very little. You can be 70 and totally kick-ass in Minecraft, building some of the coolest things. You can be 14 and be a hardcore progression raider and still make straight As in middle school. Gaming transcends age and until your mind and basic motor functions give out, you can game, and here soon if Sword Art Online becomes a reality, you can probably game even after that.

So you know, let’s make eSports something where physical attributes (how attractive someone could be perceived to the mainstream), sex, race, gender, sexuality, etc. have no merit. Because it’s not needed. Stars in the eSports world should be every age and from every origin, and be based purely on skill.

You know, eSports is a great word because it resonates with people, but in reality, gaming is just like competitive Go, Chess, Checkers, Poker, Karuta, etc. People of all ages and walks of life compete, because these are games where mental focus is paramount, even when physical skill is required like in Karuta. In Karuta, the first to slap the correct card wins, which requires a ton of physical labor even for something so simple, but nevertheless, the official tournaments allow all ages and genders to participate.

MLG has fired the first shot, establishing there is no age limit to compete, but those who follow eSports know MLG is in an upward battle for relevancy. While still holding strong, there is a lot of competition now on who is the ultimate governing authority and all these tournaments are ran by different organizations. So we have to be wary and we have to, as a community, and as just Humans, stay on course with the idea that age isn’t that important.

Now, to clarify, I’m not saying anyone is descriminating. I’m saying that there is definitely a trend of very young adults competing in eSports and I’m okay with this, because gaming is a very big deal with young adults - it’s very relevant. All I’m saying is that, as eSports matures and gains more mainstream attention, it’s something where we could have a sport where almost anyone in the entire world can compete in and we should all be proud of this idea.

Anyway, sorry for the morality derail, tomorrow I’ll talk about the perfect sandwich.

In the Bush

So like, I’m writing a letter to Totino’s because the wrong pizza was in the box, and this is written on the ToC:

“That, in any event, any suggestion is not submitted in confidence and General Mills assumes no obligation express or applied by considering it. Without limitation, General Mills shall exclusively own all now known or hereafter existing rights to the suggestions of every kind and nature throughout the Universe and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the comments for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise without compensation to the provider of the suggestions.”

Welp, throughout the universe eh. 

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About The Author

David "Xerin" Piner
Get in the bush with Xerin every week for his column, Respawn, as he analyzes the hottest trends, buzz topics, and absurdities in MMO gaming. In addition to his ongoing war against early access titles.

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