Hop on your PlayStation, Xbox, PC or whatever you own. November 7, 2021, SUNY Brockport added a new club sport to the mix. This virtual club is called eSports and it consists of online, frequently team-based competitive gaming. Members of the club had some obstacles to overcome which included issues with their budget, environment and lack of members.
eSports Growth in Popularity
Before eSports came to SUNY Brockport, the sport has been gaining recognition throughout the world. The sport’s gaming platform started with competitive Call of Duty, which expanded to other games such as Super Smash Bros, Rocket League, Valorant, Fortnite, etc.
Today, Brands such as Coke, Red-bull, Gillette and Mercedes Benz have invested into the sport, which contributed to the sport becoming a billion dollar industry.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft have invested into the eSports industry. Kraft owns an eSports team called “the Boston Uprising” and also invested $20 million to merge with another eSports team “Oxygen Esports” and enter the Call of Duty League in 2022.
Other owners of professional sports teams such as the Pittsburg Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings have invested into their local eSports teams.
eSports Becomes Local
Investments helped give the eSports industry so much recognition that colleges throughout the country thought that this could be an opportunity to make their own eSports leagues.
Local schools like RIT has added their own eSports team around six years ago, which started out with 30 students.
During that time, RIT’s eSports team won three national championships across five games. Their eSports team now consists of roughly 1,500 students.
Coordinator for Intramural and Club Sports Dylan Hill, says that due to the growth of eSports in colleges, Brockport students eventually formed a committee to start up SUNY Brockport’s very own eSports team.
“We reacted to the nation and the other schools that were doing it. The way it got started is that we formed a committee and we met like once a month about how the sport would work, which department it would fall under, and basically what it would look like,” said Hill.
So far in the 2022 season, the Brockport eSports club only has one team, which is their Call of Duty team who have been actually been very successful during their first year.
“The program this year did well. I was really proud of what they were able to accomplish as far as competition goes against other schools. They beat some really highly ranked teams and competitors. They got to travel to SUNY Cobleskill and other schools, said Hill.
Problems within the club
Brockport eSports member Ian Quinn says that the club has a great community but their budget has been a problem during the season.
“I would say that the community is very good. Lots of people enjoy it and attend it. The only thing is that the budget isn’t high enough in order to run it properly,” said Quinn.
The equipment that the team needs is very expensive, including Alienware PC’s, PlayStations, Xbox’s, Monitors, and laptop graphics cards. They need the expensive equipment in order to perform the best they can during the tournaments.
Not only that, but the team doesn’t have enough outlets in their room to power up their equipment.
Vice President of the Brockport eSports team Truman Benz says they couldn’t even use all of the expensive equipment that they could afford, due to the lack of outlets.
“Most of the money we spent is on graphics cards and the PC’s. They were very expensive but we couldn’t even use everything because of the lack of outlets.” said Benz.
The club only has around 10-15 members, so they can only have one team, which would be their Call of Duty team.
Luckily the club will be solving a few big problems by moving into a new room.
“They’re getting a new space so that’s going to be huge. They’re moving from the basement of the Union to the middle story of the Union. It’s actually a smaller room but it’s actually more suitable for what they would like to do,” said Hill.
“The room is right next to the campus mall so they’re going to have a lot of people walking by every day and noticing the eSports club,” Hill added.
This room will solve two big problems that they have. They will be able to use all of their equipment and their club will be more publicized to the students. This could increase the possibility of gaining more members of the club.
Future of eSports Club
Once the club gains more members, they will be able to have more teams for different video games.
“We will be looking to add other competitive teams next semester, such as Valorant, League of Legends, Super Smash Bros and Rocket League,” said Benz.
Due to what the club was able to accomplish this semester, Hill is confident that the club will be more successful due to the likelihood of more members students joining in the near future.
“I think the club has around 15-20 members, I can see that expanding to 20-30 into next year,” said Hill.
Hill is also confident that the club will eventually become an athletic team for the College due to the competitive nature that the club already brings.
“Due to where the leadership is at, they really dove into that competitive atmosphere, which helped embrace a competitive community. There will be more opportunities and more growth in competition for different games. I think the club will only grow and get better, as far as athletics goes I think it can be an athletic team at Brockport in around three to five years,” said Hill.
Thanks to the national recognition of the eSports industry, Brockport has the opportunity to give themselves recognition through the growing industry. Next semester, when the eSports club finally gets their new room, we can only imagine what they could accomplish.