As the world moves at warp speed through the wormhole of technological marvels, esports on campus is gaining momentum.
So says Chris Buchanan, Client Solutions Director, Dell Technologies South Africa.
“It was something that a lot of the Pac-Man generation didn’t see coming. A lot has changed in the last 20 years, but the idea of organized, competitive video gaming is still an elusive concept,” he said.
New era of technology
Buchanan said eSports on campus is an incredibly exciting opportunity in this new era of technology-rich esports and education in what is now a $200 billion gaming industry.
“Just look at the numbers. To say that eSports is gaining momentum would be an understatement. According to Statista, South Africa’s gaming industry revenue is expected to reach R570 million in 2022, at a CAGR of 12.17%, leading to a projected market size of R8.3 billion by 2026.
“Competitors also accumulate substantial profits, even at the student level. For example, South African students who competed in the Global University Students Valorant tournament this year had a chance to win a prize pool of R350,000,” he said.
Mechanics of eSports
Buchanan adds that understanding the mechanics behind eSports on campus could provide insight into the industry.
“According to a groundbreaking scientific study of eSports athletes in Germany, young top players are able to perform up to 400 focused asymmetric actions per minute – a level of exertion and hand-eye coordination that professionals in no other sport achieve.
“The same study looked at the athletes’ release of the stress hormone cortisol during competition at a high level, which was equivalent to that of a professional racer, and the players’ heart rates, which approximated that of a marathon runner,” Buchanan said.
The academic component
Buchanan said at least 17 South African universities have joined the eSports community and it is growing exponentially.
Scholarships for students pursuing careers in game design and interactive entertainment are also available from a variety of funding sources.
The technology component
“An added benefit of these growing programs is the exposure students get to cutting-edge technologies. Students can experience powerful and data-intensive gaming systems – including Alienware computers, Hyperwall displays, live streaming and transmission devices, analytics and 3D physics engines, and immersive technologies like AR and VR,” he said.
Buchanan said the technology required to support eSports on campus can be quite complex.
For those just starting out, the prospect of where and how to start may seem like a daunting task.
“The good news is that there are resources to help schools navigate the complexity. Whether they are just starting to explore the idea of adding an esports program or building a champion-level team, schools can reach out to the wider esports community for support.”
“Together, this community of motivated gamers can help make eSports on campus a completely innovative means to inspire, educate and collaborate with others, both locally and globally,” added Buchanan.
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