A national quarantine is rough on everybody and everything. . . except eSports! There has never been a better time to get involved in your college’s eSports Club.
Esports is taking the world by storm. With social distancing, restricted gathering, and persistent face masks, the virtual “stay-at-home” element of eSports has increased the overall viewers and eSports gamers to 495 million globally (almost as high as baseball) with a projection to soar even higher.
1. Mental Health Respite
In the realm of eSports and video games at large, immersive worlds draw players and viewers alike globally, to play together. Games like League of Legends and DOTA 2 offer fantasy-like plains with an abundance of deep, individual lore surrounding its 115 to 140 (and growing) unique playable characters while games like Valorant and Overwatch plop players in Earth-like arenas filled to the brim with futuristic technologies that all boast extensive play styles and backstories.
This level of immersion allows for stress-free unwinding and unplugging from real-life problems that college students face daily. Some video game skeptics may say that moment to moment gameplay can be seen as stress-inducing as the stakes increase and pressure elevates, but no football or soccer player would call their game “stressful” when the passion for victory rises in them— these moments challenge players to adapt and overcome their fears in order to be the victor, training college students to push themselves mentally which translates to real-world stressful scenarios. According to GoodTherapy, the escapism and exploration of eSports can also treat conditions of depression and anxiety. With all that said, video game addiction certainly can cause emotional suppression, a lack of motivation, and increased depression and anxiety when consumed in extremes. So, remember, everything in moderation! But for most, eSports offers an escape from day-to-day annoyances just like our favorite tv shows and movies do— but, because eSports games are so interactive, there is a myriad of hidden cognitive benefits embedded in their core.
2. Brain Exercises (in Disguise)
Playing competitive video games solo or as part of a team has an immeasurable amount of mental benefits. The skills that are sharpened while playing video games include, but aren’t limited to *takes a deep breath*:
Heightened attention and concentration
Emotional recognition and maturity
Rapid mental processing
And you can get all of these wonderful brain bonuses for the low price of— wait, playing video games? Take my money! I like to think of eSports as a series of constant mini-brain exercises that video games superiorly disguise as rewarding and entertaining achievements. For example, when launched into a map with foreign opponents, like in Fortnite, or Rocket League, as a team or an individual, you need to actively alter your strategy and make decisions by observing the enemies’ tactics in order to win. By doing this, you exercise your brain’s processing power in ways that carry over to real-life college student situations, such as test-taking, extrapolating information from textbooks, and managing group projects. Video games are the greatest cognitive boot camps in disguise.
3. Social Group
Learning how and where to fit in — especially during a pandemic — has and will always be everlastingly hard for some students. Making new friends, particularly in a new environment when you don’t have any inkling of what their interests may be, is my phobia. When drowning in a sea of self-doubt, social anxiety, and introvert-ism, joining an extracurricular club like an eSports Club is a perfect way to find your tribe. From casual to competitive, the eSports Club can be a comfortable base for you to find like-minded people that hold shared passions that all want to have enjoyable experiences playing interactive video games together. If you love playing video games and have never found people to play with — what are you waiting for — join the Esports club!
Easily the leading reason behind the victory of too much videogaming versus parents is making money through video gaming, otherwise known as eSports University Scholarships. Schools awarding scholarships for individual eSports players or full 16-player teams has grown 480% in 2019. And with the unfortunate arrival and currently, unknown end of COVID-19, live sports like football, basketball, soccer, and hockey have been halted or suppressed to some extent while eSports is rocketing forward, with more viewers and players than ever because of its online, no-contact nature.
Scholarships can range from between $500 to $8,000, full-tuition to full-ride. If people are still laughing at you in 2020 because you are in the eSports club at school, tell them they can laugh at the full-ride scholarship you’ll be getting to attend the University of California Irvine because of it, with a thumbs up, wink, and a smile *gleaming of pearly whites*.
5. Improved Academic Success
Everybody wants to make their parents proud and do well in school. In 2020, who would have thought that a great way to do that is to play competitive video games in an eSports club? The National School Boards Association encourages schools nationwide to embrace eSports leagues, as research has shown eSports players’ school attendance and GPA statistically improve. Attention and concentration are enhanced for eSports players in the classroom and for homework.
The students that don’t fit in, who fall in between the cracks of the football jocks and theater kids’ groups, can find purpose, community, and school pride in the eSports club, which in turn can also improve academic success. With school pride comes increased interest to represent your school well, creating a symbiotic relationship between student and school… completely opposite of the Symbiote relationship between Toby McGuire’s Spiderman and Venom. So join an eSports club now and see how much better you can do in college.
6. Job Opportunities
When I was a kid (okay, fine… and still today), all I wanted to be when I grew up was a professional video game player. Although I still very much enjoy playing good video games, I never got good enough to be a competitive eSports champion. Luckily, I can still achieve my childhood dream through the many other job opportunities that exist around the ever-expanding video game industry. If you didn’t become a world champion eSports player, you can become a college or high school eSports coach, tournament referee, manager, agent, publicist, or college recruiter. Jobs in the video game industry exist as well: video game testers, narrative writers, marketing and sales managers, game designers, animators, and sound engineers. Even jobs unrelated to the eSports industry such as electrician, politician, or business owner are all jobs that will benefit from the skills learned from video gameplay simply from the mental gymnastics and “brain exercise” that benefit gamers. There are many jobs available well after your fun in the eSports Club.
Whatever the case, you can compete in eSports throughout college; not making it big should not stop you from being part of this exploding industry. There is a plethora of job opportunities in the eSports world, which, I might add (if you didn’t already know), is growing exponentially every year. With people stuck at home all out of shows to watch, viewership for eSports has dramatically increased as well as different avenues of marketing.
So check it out, have fun, become part of a friendly community, and set yourself up for a successful future whatever that may be, and start by joining the eSports club .