Herkimer College to bring esports to campus in Fall 2020

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Herkimer County Community College will be bringing competitive video game playing to campus in Fall 2020 with a soft launch of its official esports athletics program.

Herkimer College has been exploring the idea of creating esports at both the club and varsity levels for the past year. College representatives have visited several other colleges with esports teams to learn about their programs, technology and facilities, as well as academic programs related to esports.

The College plans to launch its program with a limited number of esports teams in the fall of 2020, with games such as Super Smash Bros. and Rocket League. The program will expand in the fall of 2021. The esports center will be housed in the Technology Center, with specialized equipment and technology to facilitate the speed and quality needed in online competitive gaming. Academic eligibility requirements will be the same for varsity esports as they are for all other NJCAA sports.

As of January 2020, 15 states recognized esports as a high school varsity sport, according to Inside Higher Education findings. Similarly, according to a recent article in EdTech Magazine, in 2018 the number of high schools with esports teams participating in the High School Esports League (HSEL) grew from 200 to more than 1,200.

Currently, there are approximately 200 colleges nationwide participating in esports with the National Association of Collegiate Esports, Eastern College Athletic Conference; and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). There is an “ever increasing number of schools exploring esports,” according to the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Moreover, esports has grown into a billion-dollar industry and is projected to continue to grow. Recent tournaments have sold out major venues such as Madison Square Garden, and workforce opportunities related to esports are expanding along with the popularity of these competitions.

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