academic esports

Are you leveling up with esports?

You don’t have to be a gamer to see the value that esports could bring to your students, school, and district

From a design and engineering standpoint, the rooms require thoughtful HVAC systems that can compensate for the heat generated from gaming equipment. Consider the industry’s rapid evolution and plan for the ability to upsize tech with additional empty conduit runs, extra space in electrical panels, and the largest capacity internet connection available.  Esports can be especially appealing to students with physical limitations, so discussing inclusivity beyond typical ADA requirements early on is important. The right acoustics and ergonomics can also make a big difference in the performance and success of the team.

The design team can also help educators establish cultural credibility for the new program.  Consider locating the facility with adjacencies to other sports or theater programs.  Prominently locating the esports space can counter the cultural narrative that gamers belong in “mom’s basement.”  Incorporating your school’s athletic branding through murals and logos is consistent with what students can expect in the collegiate environment.

For instance, the University at Buffalo (UB) recently completed a state-of-the-art esports lounge on campus.  The design team used aesthetics to respect and reinforce gaming culture through the selection of lighting, wall and floor materials, colors, and other added value enhanced items, such as murals, paintings, logos, statues, etc. Bold graphics, colors, and the traditional gaming “pixel” were celebrated in the UB project through the repetitive use of squares in floor, wall, and ceiling treatments. As a result, the space provides an official and professional-looking place to game that students can feel proud of.

The pandemic delivered explosive growth to the videogame industry and there are no signs that interest in gaming is waning. Now is the time to meet students where they are.  In doing so, educators can provide a sense of belonging and an opportunity to guide students to secondary education and even encourage a career doing what they love.

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