The continuous growth of Esports throughout the year, paired with the COVID-19 pandemic has combined for a huge boom in the industry. The Esports industry has thrived during this pandemic, as lockdown after lockdown has caused many people to stay inside and find interest in competitive gaming. With this nearly 1-billion-dollar industry, the narrative starts to switch from playful and entertaining to competitive, and there is no stopping it.
With digital technology, we see constant innovation and adaptations which allow us to now use Esports and digital gaming as a means of job sustainability, which was never the case. This concept is hard to grasp for some, because as said before, different generations tend to have different viewpoints on new technological innovations, which is not necessarily to their fault, as people are hesitant to adapt to new things. However, these gaming technologies are being used for other things such as military and infrastructure. We see the military use an XBOX controller for a new laser weapon that is in testing stages. We also see renovation of the famous Notre Dame look toward Assassin’s Creed for help in repairing the famous cathedral because of the detail that was put in the game is almost an exact replica of what it was before. So although there are different viewpoints, this advancement in digital and gaming technology is creating even more opportunities than just Esports.
With these different viewpoints, we see a lag in the technological divide among generations, which is a story as old as time. With every new technological advancement, we see criticism. When the Television was first introduced, many saw it as a distraction and a problem. However, here we are today, and almost everyone owns multiple televisions, and it is where most of us get our information and entertainment from. The same is happening with Esports. When we were young many of the older generation saw video games as something that will distract us and rot our brains, but now with the advances in technology and the outreach video games have, it’s become a living for many people, just like any other sport.
Esports has followed the same path as every other sport, so there is no reason to believe it can’t and won’t be as successful as others. In the early days of all American sports, players made nearly nothing, and many would have to work other jobs to make ends meet. There is no difference with Esports, while many players are making a living off Esports solely, many are working extra jobs to make ends meet. This however does not take away from the fact that it is sustainable just like other sports, and now that it is sustainable and showing to be a fast growing highly profitable industry, we are seeing the introduction of Esports scholarships and clubs at Universities, one of those being here in our Saint Joseph’s Community.
Saint Joseph’s Esports club formed last year in 2020. We were lucky to have Ally Grenier talk with us and tell us a little bit about what the Esports team does, and how they look to expand in an extremely hot and growing industry. Currently, the three most popular games among the club are League of Legends, Mario Super Smash Bros, and Overwatch. In total, there are 30 members who are split up among these games, with each game having its own set weekly schedule of practices and tournaments. In relation to the growth and opportunity of the Esports industry, and in line with what some universities are turning toward, the club hopes to continue expanding their arsenal of games, and to ultimately get to the point where students can get scholarships to come play Esports at SJU.
It’s become apparent that at this point with the advancements in digital technology in gaming, as well as the opportunity and demand for competitive gaming, that this is an actual branch that should be addressed. Like innovations in technology before us, there is going to be criticism and hesitancy to agree and embrace this new technology. However, we have seen over the years that there is opportunity and sustainability in gaming, and as this industry grows, we hope to see SJU join the many schools that have already started offering Esport sponsorships to students.