How big is eSports?

eSports is massive. Thousands of incredible fans. Welcome to the main event. Jensen gets him! It’s an ace for Cloud9! It’s a long-standing rivalry here. And it’s gonna be all five! Pentakill! [ cheering ] World champions! UC Irvine announced on Wednesday that it’s gonna launch an eSports initiative in the fall of 2016. And the university will introduce 10 scholarships for top level League of Legends players next year. eSports is the massive world around video games. It’s the competitive element. It is the community that supports it and plays these games. And the entertainment component that millions of people tuning in to watch their favorite games.

So, a lot of people sometimes ask about what is the appeal of watching someone else play video games. And I guess the easiest way that I usually talk to them is what’s the appeal of watching someone else play football or basketball instead of playing it yourself? And once you realize that people want to watch the best of the best compete against each other, it’s the same thing for video games. It’s the same thing for League of Legends. This is an endeavor that was not born in a research lab. It’s not an endeavor that was born in the academic mind of a faculty member who is there. This really bubbled up from our student community. eSports started at UCI with our gaming club. And it’s been our dream for many, many years to create an eSports program that is actually recognized by the school. I stumbled upon how successful our clubs at UCI were. I was aware of how successful our Computer Game Science major was. Over the past year, we’ve created a bunch of ideas of what we should do that makes sense in a collegiate scene. It’s been one heck of a ride. We are going to have a beautiful new 3,500 square foot eSports arena. We kind of modeled it after the PC or internet cafe system. We will have 80 gorgeous PCs. Those machines will be top of the line. We’ll also have consoles in there.

It’s going to be pretty awesome. Here we go. The UCI eSports program is based on 4 pillars. First, competition. Second, academics and research. Community and entertainment. With competition, we hope to compete against the best teams in the world. On the academic side, we will be partnering with our faculty and reaserchers to unravel the mysteries around gaming. Our faculty have been studying, teaching and researching gaming for many years. On the community aspect, we are going to be creating a culture and a space with our arena for our gaming community to exist and to thrive. And on the entertainment front, we will be broadcasting our competitions and material out to the world through our Twitch and other channels. And we will be creating a whole new platform and career path for students as they want to go into digital entertainment. Part of our program is obviously the extremely big scholarship piece.