The Rise of Video Gaming at Hamline

Marcus Engstran, Reporter

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Esports is the recent rise in online Player vs Player competition, commonly abbreviated to simply PvP. Games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Rainbow Six Siege and Fortnite just to name a few, utilize team play, communication, quick reflexes and natural skill to win the game.

It is not just action and team games that are on the rise, Esports also includes the category of video games such as MaddenTM and NHLTM sport games being played against an opponent.

The rise of esports’ popularity is in part due to the rise of streaming services such as Twitch, Youtube and Mixer. These sites allow gamers to broadcast their play throughout the country and the world.

According to a University of Berkeley Review published in 2018, the Esports scene could produce up to $1.4 billion industry-wide by 2020. In 2019, research firm Newzoo reported up $456.7 million dollars just in sponsorships. They reported esports earning $1.1 billion dollars which puts it on par to surpass the Berkeley Review estimate.

Many colleges even have varsity esports. As of 2016, according to Gamedesigning.org, there were seven colleges and universities who had varsity programs exclusively for esports, by 2018 that number has jumped to 63 institutions.

Hamline has its own esports organization. Hamline’s esports team meets for a general meeting every Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m in the basement of the Bush Center, also known as the HUB. The six-person board of directors includes Summer Carleton, Gannon Larson, Will Deery, Samantha Broadhead, Shane Mettler, and Lucas Englin, photographer for the Oracle. They give updates on upcoming events and news and then individual teams select their own times to meet and practice. They also have their own Discord Server on campus which they use to communicate.

“We often have casual tournaments of Smash Ultimate in the HUB. We have one team competing for our first Fall semester, and that is the amazing Colby Wong and Jesus Garcia who will be competing in Fortnite in the StarLeague (Varsity Division) of the Collegiate Star League,” said the board on some upcoming events via email.

The Hamline Esports team is a team of about 25 active members (and roughly 45 who have expressed interest in joining), operating under the staff advisory of John Guetter. They are considered under the Campus Rec department.

The team is divided into separate smaller teams that play in tournaments, they currently have a team that plays Super Smash Bros in local tournaments, a League of Legends team and a Fortnite team that competes competitively. In an email, the board says that it’s their mission is to “provide opportunities to the students of Hamline through play.”

The group was just created but they have already accomplished quite a bit. They had their first official top ten finish in a top collegiate organizer, the AVGL, where a team competed in a Clash Royale single-day tournament. They now have a space reserved on campus to build their practice room and have a budget approved for the spring of 2020.

The esports team hopes to build a name in the growing Minnesota collegiate esports arena.

The board also has the long term goal to grow their name and become more recognized face in the Minnesota esports community.

“Our goal was not to have too many members right off the bat, and we are planning to grow as soon as we have the basic infrastructure built, a couple of team’s competing, and official documents to govern ourselves by,” the board said. “Our organization will allow our university to establish themselves early in an  entertainment phenomenon that desperately needs ​qualified professionals and a pipeline built for the rising world of esports in Minnesota, which is far behind places in the world that are already profiting from esports.”

 

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