There is a new gaming room on campus, tailored to the growing esports community. The RWU Esports Club hopes to use this room to become even more competitive.
President of the Esports Club Michael Delli Carpini said everyone is really excited to utilize the room. The new gaming room is located in the ELS building and will have 12 high-end gaming computers, all donated by the university. It currently has nine, but that hasn’t stopped the team from making use of them.
“We had an Overwatch match this weekend and we went 2-0 against two different colleges,” Carpini said. “I think it’s definitely a great way for players that are skilled but are lacking PCs to really unleash and be the best player they can be in this room.”
The esports team plays games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League and Apex Legends competitively.
Esports is a trend that is sweeping colleges across the country. Tournaments draw hundreds of thousands of views online and on TV. Some winners can even walk away with millions of dollars.
According to Carpini, the team used to practice in a classroom in GHH, but it was not an ideal setup.
“This system is a lot more refined and the results are already showing," Carpini said.
According to Vice President of Student Life John King, the idea for a room dedicated to esports came from former Interim President Andy Workman, who went to a conference and saw other schools showcasing their esports teams. King, Carpini and others also traveled to Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts to visit their esports gaming room as well.
“E-gaming as a sport has been sweeping the country collegially for a couple years now and it has become something that students will actively look for,” King said.
Many schools have begun to support esports teams, like Johnson and Wales University in Providence.
“We do believe that this can bring students to the university that might not otherwise have come,” King said. “It will be exciting to watch the club grow and become even more competitive now that they have both a practice and a competition facility.”
Nick Stanglewicz, head of the Overwatch team, is excited to have a dedicated place for his team to practice and play.
“This is the place for it to flourish," Stanglewicz said. “The game came out in May of 2016 and that fall I was a freshman. I was able to be a part of the conception of the team and now seeing it in its fourth year, I think there is a real market for it."
Overwatch is one of the most popular games currently, with over 40 million copies of the game sold, according to video game company Blizzard Entertainment.
“I think that RWU is really putting a lot of effort into revamping the community spirit," Stanglewicz said. “I think they’re doing a really good job and I think that esports is just as viable a medium for entertainment as regular sports.”