Today, I had to take a break from my game play, and my infantile attempted Twitch broadcasts. A short drive up from my home in Racine, I am in the lovely Wisconsin Dells for the Wisconsin eSchool Network meetings. So, I took this opportunity to evangelize to my colleagues the growing benefits and importance of eSports in schools.
I am not a master at the various eSports games. One of the great things about eSports is I can clearly see the benefits for schools. The research from the University of California-Irvine indicating playing 3-D video games can boost memory formation. Compared to the Purdue University study focused on sub-concussive hits to the head in football, it creates an interesting dichotomy. Therefore, I believe sports such as football will continue to increase in costs related to insurance and new sophisticated equipment. It will be to the point the cost will be unwieldy for schools. Hence, these sports will become private club sports.
And the list of schools offering eSports scholarships are growing. Today, the University of Jamestown reached out to me and announced they are launching an eSports team in 2017-2018 and are actively recruiting students to fill their scholarships. Schools you would not consider “major universities” see a market inefficiency. This inefficiency allows them to attract a new pool of students. These are students who may get lost in big university programs. eSports has changed the culture of academics and athletics. Consequently, that culture will continue to change rapidly in the coming years.
Finally, without comprehensive student loan and tuition reform, smaller colleges will be able to compete with bigger schools in attracting unique talent. Normally, these smaller colleges cannot support the cost of high profile traditional athletics. Assuredly, this talent will thrive in programs that can compete on a level eSports “field.”