West Virginia University Potomac State College is entering into the exciting realm of esports and is currently recruiting students for its inaugural season in fall 2019.
The term esports describes the world of competitive, organized video gaming at the collegiate, amateur and professional levels. Competitors from different leagues or teams face-off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers like Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Madden NFL to name a few.
Gamers are watched and followed by millions of fans all over the world; some attend live events while others tune in on TV or online. Streaming services like Twitch allow viewers to watch as their favorite gamers play in real time. According to Newzoo, a market analytics company, 380 million people worldwide will watch esports this year, generating nearly $180 billion in revenue.
Overseeing the new program will be recently hired Esports Coordinator Joshua Steger. Steger previously worked with esports at the University of Central Florida and at Central Michigan University where he organized one-day esports tournaments and leagues. He also developed and maintained intramural esports programs through game creation with rules and guidelines, and monetarization of each league.
Steger also served as the owner and head coach of Howling Gale Gaming, overseeing 23 players and several teams. He has experience in recruiting players, scheduling competitions, conducting scrim practices, and improving the overall talent of players.
“I’m looking for students who are willing to learn and grow academically while achieving esports success. Varsity players need to have a team-first mentality and be able to hold themselves accountable,” stated Steger.
The College is working to create an esports arena with state-of-the-art gaming stations with each varsity player having their own personalized space. The arena will also include a viewing section for spectators to physically watch the team; however they can also follow them on-screen as they compete.
Competition will be determined based on the league and scheduling. The team will have weekly scrims to prepare for competition play. Once league play and exhibition matches are scheduled, that information will be publicized on the Esports webpage.
“I’m currently searching for 12 to 15 students who can represent the best of the best that WVU PSC has to offer,” said Steger.
Esports has its own governing body, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), a non-profit membership association organized by member institutions. WVU Potomac State is now a NACE member. Together, members are developing the structure and tools needed to advance collegiate esports in the varsity space. NACE has 130 plus member schools, and more than 3,000 student athletes nationwide, and that number continues to grow.
For more information about esports, available scholarships or how you can compete at the collegiate level, contact Steger at 304.788.6881or at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete an online questionnaire.