We all know how popular spectator sports are, such as baseball, football, and basketball. Something new is joining the league of the all spectator sports for the age of millennials, eSports. A survey from digital gaming industry website Newzoo found that 22 percent of males from 21 to 35 watch eSports, making competitive video gaming as popular as America’s national pastime. With many prestigious universities as Harvard launching eSports clubs, it’s clear that higher education is taking note of the popularity of video gaming. The University of Nevada has started involving itself in the world of gaming, but not to be a competitor.
During the summer, it was announced that the International Gaming Institute, which was a source of research and innovation in casino gaming, would be launching an eSports lab. The lab would have coursework geared toward exploring facets of eSports and produce presentations and business plans relevant to the casino industry. The director of the lab says that eSports was a natural fit for the institute and that many resort casinos have requested more insight into how competitive gaming might work for them. The students will work on designing competitive events and improving experience models, as well as developing and testing hypothetical business models for casinos. The director of research at the gaming institute, told gambling and casino industry news outlet Yogonet that the eSports lab will be housed within UNLV’s Konami Gaming Laboratory, which has a mock casino floor alongside classrooms. The institute will also work closely with the eSports club to host tournaments and game play regularly.
Devoting a study to competitive gaming is not a surprise given how popular it has become. Newzoo survey has found that live-streaming services, like Twitch, have more than 100 million unique viewers each month. With all the demand is was able to capitalize on, it was able to sell to amazon for $970 million in 2014. Universities, like Maryville University in St. Louis have seen the demand for video game competition and created club-level teams. University of California, Irvine launched an eSports initiative that grants 10 academic scholarships to students on the school’s competitive video gaming team.
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