Mar 23, 2022

Why Esports is here to stay

Esports is a hot topic, spanning K–12 to Higher Ed. And here’s why Esports is here to stay.

What is Esports?

Esports is a powerfully engaging tool to reach a diverse array of students, create an inclusive, welcoming learning environment, enhance students’ abilities to collaborate, solve real problems, and learn in meaningful ways. Short for “electronic sports”, it is a form of competition where video-gamers square off in teams or individually. Competitions take place in a multiplayer setting, with prizes or scholarships often awarded at the end of tournaments.

How popular is Esports?

Frequent Esports viewers are projected to reach 297 million in 2022, a five time increase over 2012. 17 states and the District of Columbia offered formal Esports teams in 2020, the multi-billion-dollar Esports industry is beginning to be globally recognized, it will be an Olympic sport, and colleges and universities are offering over 350 Esports scholarships.

Kids and teens are passionate about gaming. And while some educators and parents are skeptical, the educational value of gamification in learning is real. High schools, middle schools and younger Esports team participation is classified as an academic not athletic activity. And it can contribute to:

Esports in K-12

As COVID-19 prompted the North American Scholastic Esports Federation to focus on community, not competition, one result was the Minecraft Challenge. Students grades 3–12 logged into Minecraft and designed their ideal quarantine house. Completed homes could be uploaded online for all members to see, the competition was free to enter, and winners were eligible for prizes including a $500 scholarship.

Esports teams and competitions are easily scalable, most take place remotely and rely on existing school or players at home equipment. That means it’s affordable and teams can continue league play, even when distance learning is necessary. And there are many ways for students to get involved. Some play competitively, others maintain team websites, run social media accounts, record game videos, or shout-cast (play-by-play) during livestreams.

Esports Environments

Some schools now meet students halfway, creating classroom spaces that maximize the benefits of Esports camaraderie and learning. The ingredients for an Esports league are pretty mall: physical space, computers and adult supervision. Most schools rearrange existing furniture for game play, another reason why mobile furnishings in schools are important.

However, we can’t overlook the unique needs of these student athletes: active-seating-type chairs that move with gaming movements, have seat pans that provide four-way tilt, offer good back support and have caster options. Adjustable tables and computer screens to accommodate the right eye level. And mobile, lockable storage for gaming consoles.

Why Not Esports?

“Esports in schools gets kids out of the basement, into the classroom, on a team and in a collaborative environment with adult supervision, learning and competing. Being excited about something, leads [students] to care about school … that means they’re more engaged in class, with better attendance, and that usually leads to better GPAs.” Jason Kirby, HSEL president.

Our Learning Environments and Technology teams have innovative Esports solutions to support K-12 and Higher Ed.

Contact jcockerton@open-sq.com for a conversation or a consultation.