FACEIT set to bolster an already sprouting collegiate esports scene
Esports in school are the ultimate dream for many – and for some, it has become a reality. Though rare and unusual, some schools have added esports to their curriculum. Collegiate esports started out as collegiate gaming – teams associated with colleges.
Then came scholarships and then came proper esports courses in college – the dream for many. Even schools that don’t offer full esports curriculum’s occasionally support esports programs for their athletes – and those not yet involved in collegiate esports might be about to join.
Into the unknown
Such is the purpose of the new initiative of FACEIT, a tournament platform that is now joining the collegiate esports scene in the United States. For this, the company created a new division specifically to support the collegiate gaming ecosystem. To do so, they will partner with both publishers and colleges in order to set up opportunities for dedicated fans.
These programs focus on a number of aspects – they are intended to help students stay healthy while gaming, and to also prep them for a life in the esports industry. As a matter of fact, this sort of program has shown itself to lead to new jobs in the esports industry as well.
It’s also the ideal platform to address common issues in the esports world – such as discrimination, inequality, and even toxic gaming behaviour.
The FACEIT collegiate Counter-Strike programme already ran earlier this year with Robert Morris University taking the crown of collegiate CS:GO Champions.
Already, there are a number of schools with esports varsity programs. While many of them are centred in the US, a select few can also be found in Europe – particularly in the UK. In the US, a number of colleges have hopped on the bandwagon – in 2018, as many as 73 collegiate esports programs existed, the next year that number nearly doubled to 130.
Among the bigger leagues there are the Collegiate Starleague – a multi-school StarCraft league, Tespa – a Texan league featuring Blizzard-developed titles like Overwatch, Hearthstone, and more, Riot Games Collegiate LoL – a League of Legends league associated with the Starleague and more.
These college leagues tend to focus on the same games that ‘regular’ esports focus on – in fact, they even serve as recruiting grounds for larger gaming organisations to scout talent from. Like how some Overwatch teams have a lower league with the Contenders, from which they pull talent, these esports leagues also aim to offer a start into the life of a pro to students at colleges.