eSports, also knowns as electronic sports, e-sports, etc. is a rising form of sport competition using video games. Typically eSports are organized, multi-player video game competitions played between individuals or teams. In the FIYA eSports league, we will be using the team model. Games can be played either on PCs or gaming consoles like XBOX, Play Station, or Nintendo Switch depending on the game's availability. ESports has continued its evolution into today's mainstream culture, exponentially during COVID-19 social restrictions and quarantine protocols, and there's plenty of data and statistics that support its movement.
BENEFITS OF ESPORTS FOR SCHOOLS & STUDENTS
If you're unsure about how eSports work and how they can make a positive impact on your school environment, here's a quick run down of just some of the main benefits that come with student participation in eSports! Having a team or program at your school not only can provide better exposure for your school, but it will also: foster interests and education in STEM learning, drive new opportunities for programming, promote greater student involvement, and even help set your students on different career paths that could help them stay motivated for college and beyond!
1. EXPOSES STUDENTS TO GAMING AND TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES & CAREERS
Similar to traditional sports, eSports provide a plethora of benefits to students in more ways than just if they become a professional gamer. A well-rounded eSports program could build long-term interest in gaming and technology careers, allowing students to discover interests in (but not limited to): programming, designing, software development, IT operations, and other surrounding areas by exposing them to this technologically creative environment.
2. STUDENTS CAN DEVELOP ACADEMIC, SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SKILLS
Significant to our current circumstances and the limitating socialization our students are facing because of COVID-19, eSports can actually help fill that void depending on the game. Particularly for team-based games, students learn and rely on communication and collaboration skills in order to be successful in winning match-ups with their teammates. Games that incorporate puzzle-mechanics or strategies encourage students to use strategic thinking and problem solving traits. And almost all eSports games demand a certain amount of quick reactions, reflexes, driving awareness and decision-making development. Not to mention, by including a maintained GPA in order to play on your school's eSports team, that involvement teaches students how to prioritize responsibilities and develop time management skills. On top of that, statistics show that gamers are more likely to have a creative hobby, play a musical instrument, and 59% of gamers are even certain they will vote in the next presidential election. All of these and more are positive skillsets that will help students grow and prepare in the long run for their future endeavors in education and career.
3. IMPROVES CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE AND STUDENT INVOLVEMENT
Keeping your students involved can be extremely difficult especially with our current restrictions and schools returning to online learning. Developing an eSports team or program at your school can help reach your students who may feel that there's nothing for them to do right now outside of the daily school routine. Not to mention, it's no secret that students involved in extracurricular activities like tradtional sports, also peform better in the classroom! GPA requirements and involvement in eSports can help continue keep students involved but also teach them organizational skills and provide a sense of belonging to make them feel a part of something. Now, more than ever, our students need to be engaged, feel included, and be a part of something bigger than themselves.
4. FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES IN ESPORTS
Much like traditional sports, the esports industry actually presents real opportunities for athlete sponsorships and the chance to become a professional. ESports has been progressively growing in the high school and college scenes alike, with many institutions now offering eSports to their students and even college scholarships! Currently in the state of California, CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) which is also our Los Angeles high schools' main governing body for school sports competitions, provides eSports. This means our Los Angeles students participating in FIYA eSports will likely also have the opporutnity to continue this endeavor at the high school level. And with $16 million in college scholarships offered to gamers in high school during the 2018-2019 school year, playing eSports in college is also an actual possibility. There's even word on the street that eSports may potentially be inducted into the Olympic Games at some point in the future!
Click here to read more on the Benefits of an Esports Team: K12 & Higher Ed
Click here to watch a useful Ted Talks on the Benefits of Esports by Dr. Anthony Betrus
WHAT'S REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE
So you may be seeing all our information about eSports and what we're offering, but also be genuinely wondering, "Is it even possible for our school and students to participate?" While at first glance eSports may come off as intimidating or unobtainable because of limiting funding or resources, it's actually much more possible than one would think!
75% of Americans have at least one gamer in their household, 89% have at least one computer, and roughly 51% of households own at least one gaming console. Many of FIYA's eSports offerings are available to play with various devices including: a PC, XBOX One, or Play Station 4.
STARTING A SCHOOL ESPORTS TEAM / PROGRAM
NEW TO ESPORTS?
For starters, to help our community and adult school leaders learn more about eSports, how it works, and how you can start a school program or team, we've created a Pinterest Board full of free resources and a YouTube playlist with helpful videos and tutorials to get you going. Read up on tips, articles, news, and other materials to give you a better idea on what eSports is all about!
Click here to follow the FIYA Pinterest account
Want to know more?
To dive deeper into eSports, we've also included below (and located on all of our eSports web pages) some additional links outside of Pinterest that provide more specific and substancial information for our schools. It's our hope that by providing as much tools and resources as possible, more schools and student athletes will have the opportunity to participate in FIYA eSports! With the current circumstances due to COVID-19, our vision is to help keep students engaged with their schools and fellow classmates outside of the classroom, especially if our schools will be resuming online instead of face-to-face.
SPECTATORS & HOW TO WATCH
Although FIYA is new to the eSports world, we're hoping to also incorporate the spectator / fan-based experience for our school communities and our participating student-athletes by streaming our competitions to watch online (and for free) via Twitch.
Twitch is the world's leading live streaming platform for gamers, giving viewers and broadcasters a way to interact and share their gaming competitions, performances, and other creative content with others. So while it may seem like eSports is not a socially interactive sport, it's actually the quite opposite with today's technology! On Twitch, we'll be able to live stream ongoing competitions, post replays and highlights, as well as interact with our community virtually. Spectators can watch and engage with FIYA eSports using Twitch either on any computer, smart phone, or tablet. Be sure to follow FIYA on Twitch and our various other social media accounts to stay up to date with current eSports leagues and upcoming events. (links below)
An important note for parents and adult school leaders: While all content streamed and posted by FIYA is positively-oriented and age appropriate for our students and school communities, as with any social media platform, please be aware of outside content your students may have access to while using the site. FIYA is not responsible nor can control the Twitch public feed, what's posted on other accounts, or what content your students watch and accounts they engage with outside of FIYA. So for safety measures and precautions, please educate yourselves on general cyber security procedures and discuss your own protocol with your students.
To read up on monitoring your students' exposure to Twitch, parents' FAQ, and how to safely use the platform, we suggest all parents and school leaders read this article on a "Parents' Ultimate Guide to Twitch."
Once FIYA's eSports league goes live, stay tuned for opportunities to watch your school's team compete and cheer on your student-athletes!
Click here to follow the FIYA Twitch account
Click here to follow the FIYA Instagram account
Click here to follow the FIYA Facebook account
Click here to follow the FIYA Twitter account
Click here to follow the FIYA YouTube account