UC Irvine Becomes First State-Run University To Offer e-Sports Scholarships
If you're one of the holdouts that doesn't believe eSports has a future, you may want to step back and look at the big picture, because it's here to stay and having significant impact. In fact, we're sure that many gamers who grew up any time before eSports began to explode is probably surprised that it wasn't so popular until fairly recently. To be fair, Nintendo did treat us to some cool competitions revolving around the NES in the 80s, but that was but a minor appetite whetting.
Today, eSports is such big business, that it seems like no peripheral vendor is without a sponsored team. Those who do well at eSports are not just "gamers"; they're doing this for a living. In fact, if you're skilled at what you do, there's a lot of money to be made in this line of work. That could be part of the reason that the University of California Irvine will officially launch an eSports curriculum this fall.
The initiative, called UCI eSports, is going to be built on "four pillars": academics, entertainment, community, and of course, competition. Writes UCI's Vice Chancellor for student affairs Thomas Parham, "We hope to attract the best gamers from around the world, and our academic programs in computer gaming science, digital arts, computer science, engineering, anthropology, law, medicine, neuroscience and behavior create a strong foundation for research and inquiry related to gaming.".
UCI is taking its eSports venture seriously, as it's not going to slouch on the PCs provided either. "A state-of-the-art arena equipped with high-end gaming PCs" will support those taking the eSports courses, as well as invite non-team members who play some games for leisure during their downtime. Even better? UCI is going to be offering "as many as" 10 academic scholarships, presumably to those who show extraordinary gaming talent.
UCI already has some industry support, with Riot Games, makers of League of Legends, vowing support for the program. We're not quite sure how, but Riot will offer a "premium League of Legends gaming experience."
If any of this sounds too good to be true, we can't blame you. We can also add that we're just a wee bit jealous of those who might get to play games all day, for a living. Why couldn't eSports have exploded decades ago!?