The American university Ohio State has announced significant plans to help its students keep up with the competitive gaming scene. The university will build a special esports arena, as well as implement classes and a degree to that effect.
Opening in September 2019
Ohio State has already developed a vibrant grassroots gaming community. Organizations such as the Buckeye Gaming Collective have nationally ranked teams for top esports like League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League. But the involvement of Ohio State University promises to take things to the next level.
Ohio State’s Lincoln Tower will form the epicenter of the gaming action with a custom-built esports arena. This will help to bring gamers together by allowing them to play against each other in the same room, rather than being kept separate over an internet connection.
The esports arena should open next month. It will have the capacity for over 80 gamers as well as computers, consoles and virtual reality systems. In addition, a broadcast booth will enable students to stream matches.
Ohio State’s Office of Student Life will be on hand to help establish new competitive gaming teams. They hope up to four new esports teams will start this year. They should compete in the biggest titles, such as League of Legends, Hearthstone, Overwatch and Rocket League.
By implementing a structured esports program, the organizers aim to treat gaming the same as varsity sports. This means that gamers will have tryouts, get recruited, and undertake a strict practice regimen to ensure they can compete at the highest level. The program will also give students the chance to get an undergraduate degree in game studies and esports. While this is still in the approval stages, Fall 2020 is the target for launching the program.
Ohio State has been quick to seek the assistance of some industry heavyweights to create its esports curriculum. Students will study areas like competitive gaming management, game creation, and even see how video games can be used in the realms of health and medicine.
Such moves should help all aspiring students take video gaming more seriously and even develop a career out of the activity. There’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for a pre-existing games studies minor that already has a large waiting list. Plus, Ohio State is in the midst of planning scholarships to encourage gamers to study gaming in a more structured manner.
Ohio State is just the latest American university to announce competitive gaming scholarships. There are currently over 20 US colleges with varsity esports programs. All these developments point to a bright future for the nation’s student gamers.