Let the games begin

The rumors can now be silenced—the announcement has been made via Waynesburg University social media accounts about eSports coming to campus. The unfathomable is happening: video games and school will intersect. In a video clip featuring senior communication major Scotty Miller using the new equipment, the university confirmed everyone’s suspicions.

ESports will be on campus as soon as next semester, in the spring of 2022, with a soft launch, according to athletic director Adam Jack. The competition aspect is set to start next fall, while Jack said they are currently conducting interviews for a full-time eSports coach/director to take charge. 

As far as the equipment is concerned, 26 stations with chairs, PCs, headsets, monitors and more are being installed.

“These gaming rigs are state-of-the art and the number of them that we will have to utilize will give us one of the largest venues in the region,” Jack said via email. “All of this was made possible through a very generous anonymous donor.”

According to Jack, equipment will include Alienware Aurora R12 Gaming Desktops, Secret Lab Gaming Chairs, adjustable desks, Bose headsets and curved monitors. All of this and more is to be included in what will be the “eSports Arena.”

These renovations should be completed mid to late January 2022. The eSports Arena will be housed in athletics, according to Jack, but it is not yet sanctioned by the NCAA to be a varsity sport.This arena is to be set up in Buhl 205, which was, formerly a PC computer lab. Miller recognizes that the eSports setup is “top notch” and “the best of the best” compared to other eSports labs in the region. He also said that as of now, the games students get to play will include “Rocket League,” “Overwatch” and “Super Smash Bros Ultimate.” 

Miller, who is the student featured in the social media clip, has had a crucial hand in making the project possible. He has served as a student leader assisting faculty in setting up the eSports Program. Miller’s work is also part of his senior capstone project for the Department of Communication. 

Miller, alongside Department of Communication Chair Richard Krause, are working to televise the eSports events and broadcast them with newly acquired equipment. Since Miller plans to graduate in the spring, he will no longer be a student when his work comes into fruition.

“I’m not going to be far away, so if they ever had any questions or anything I’d definitely answer them,” Miller said. “I know they’re hiring for the coach’s position, which I’m not going to be able to get, but if there would be a chance for me to get [involved] I’d gladly … take on that role to stay to help establish something like this.”

Back in July, Student Services Administrative Assistant Mary Woessner sent a campus-wide email with a survey asking students about their interest in an eSports pilot program.

When the eSports Arena opens its doors, students will be given a new opportunity to compete against other gamers.

The countdown until the completion of the high-end facility begins.