Playing video games is seen by many as a sedentary, solitary activity, but an Arizona State University student-led organization is seeking to help change that sentiment by promoting esports — competitive video gaming — as an athletic activity that democratizes competition and access among its participants while offering its players a sense of camaraderie.
“It is an even playing field, that’s one thing that is very different than regular sports,” said Lucas Selman, president of the ASU Esports Association.
At the association's meetings every Friday, you’ll find a diverse group socializing and competing with and against each other at the highest level of competitive play in myriad games.
Video by Jamie Ell/ASU Now
But it's not just the players; there are a lot of roles and careers available in esports.
"There's tournament organizers where you plan events, a bunch of social media you need to do, media production crews, coaches," said Luc McConnell, vice president of the ASU Esports Association. "You need a whole host of skills to be sucessful in esports as a business, you don't necessarily just need to be a player."
Members within the association have also found success in collegiate-level tournaments. They won the Tespa Heroes of the Dorm tournament in 2016, beating out UT Arlington in the grand finals and garnering a first-place prize pool of $375,000 in tuition.
The ASU Esports Association is now looking to recapture that former glory with its current members.
“We’re now focused on other games, like Blizzard Entertainment's 'Overwatch.' It’s really big here in Arizona and we have a lot of high ranked players who compete in 'Overwatch' at a really high level,” Selman said.
But even if you're not an elite-level player, the association is ready to welcome you, Selman added.
"It doesn't matter if you're into competitive gaming — you can still make friends here, have fun, and socialize while playing video games."
The ASU Esports Association currently meets every Friday at the Tempe campus from 5 p.m to midnight in EDC 117.
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