Opening in spring 2020, TU students will be able to play their favorite video and board games for competition or relaxation in the new esports and gaming lounge. Short for electronic sports, esports is a blend of skill-based talent with popular video games. From esports athletes to the everyday student looking to take a break after a test, this comfortable space directly across from the Pat Case Dining Center will create engaging experiences for students. The state-of-the-art facility showcases 20 gaming computers Nintendo Switches, comfortable seating and more than 50 board games including role playing games (RPGs), to offer a highly requested campus service for students to press play and engage together.
After seeing the impact video games had on so many students on campus and around the country, students enlisted the help of Melissa France, associate vice president of campus services, to create a space that could harness all gaming excitement. From technological infrastructure to comfortable chairs for long-term play, students will find a space that meets their needs in 2020 and beyond. “We noticed that one of the things that was growing on college campuses especially was Esports. They were not able to be as competitive because they didn’t have the computer systems and the bandwidth that they needed to play competitively.” Explained France.
Choose your Player
Current TU competitive esports and gaming teams include: “Call of Duty,” “Overwatch,” “League of Legends,” “CS:GO,” “Magic the Gathering” and “Rainbow 6.” Other campus esports clubs will also be able to relocate to this new area to gain visibility on campus and utilize a proper gaming facility built just for them. France emphasizes that the new lounge will help organize teams and gain followers on campus as well as on Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers used around the world. In 2019, users viewed games on Twitch for more than 634 billion minutes.
With the right equipment and internet connection, TU students say the space will draw the attention of serious gamers. “Many people today have a level of exposure to gaming and because of that, I think the lounge has the potential to be one of the more popular spots on campus,” said Colton Tankersley, accounting major and president of the esports club.
There are high expectations for varsity esports teams at TU — all teams are required to be in good academic standing and practice regularly to build the team’s skill level. By practicing and learning how to manage their study time, class schedules and competition bouts, they build to become TU’s first wave of esports athletes. “I think it’s important to recognize that esports isn’t just playing games competitively. It’s a growing industry with a need for journalists, managers, video producers, lawyers, psychologists, etc. Aside from working in the field, playing in a team environment and learning many important life skills is an invaluable experience on its own,” Tankersley explained. Students are invited to participate in formal tryouts for competitive leagues in fall 2020 to determine if they have what it takes to master the digital sports world. By bringing together students who are interested in video games and intercollegiate competitions, the venture will continue to develop students in an ever-evolving technological landscape – preparing them for jobs today that don’t exist yet.
How to start playing
The esports and gaming lounge will host an open house on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, from 3 – 6 p.m. for all who are interested in seeing the space. Programs will start this spring like “Minecraft” building, a Smash Bros. tournament, Dungeons & Dragons events and “Pokemon Sword & Shield” competitions. Esports lounge organizers are open to feedback on gaming needs. The esports area will be open regularly during the school year from noon to midnight seven days a week. Facilitators hope students get out of their rooms to play in person and build a stronger TU community.