Adapting to our new normal means thinking outside the box. eSports provide new opportunities for students to interact, learn, and have some fun along the way.
With the onset of the global health crisis, our “normal” way of living has changed. Schools and businesses have had to embrace a work at home model, creating environments where parents are in “lockdown” with their school age children who are remote learning in virtual classrooms, as schools remain closed. Home has become the place where we work, and learn, and play, all under the same roof. Welcome to the “new normal”.
During this social isolation, I’ve personally noticed the time my kids spend gaming is far beyond my initial estimates. Gaming has provided a way for them to socialize with friends, and has served as a substitute for in-person activities like playing sports, or going to lunch. The popularity of gaming was already skyrocketing prior to the current health crisis, but being at home has created a “perfect storm” that has exponentially increased the amount of time people spend participating in video games. According to Verizon, U.S. video game usage during peak hours has increased by 75 percent since the lockdown measures went into effect.
In addition to gaming, eSports has also benefited from this new normal with an increase in uptake. Because the playing fields are virtual and can be played online without in-person contact, eSports have continued to be played through this difficult time, while in-person sports have been restricted. Traditional sports leagues have explored eSports as a new way to engage their fans during the health crisis, with numerous eSports competitions being shown on live TV to fill the hours of scheduled sports content that were cancelled in the wake of the health crisis.
This environment has also proven that gaming can generate significant revenue. For example, eSports in college and high school has become a billion dollar industry with 75 percent of eSports revenue attributed to advertising and broadcasting. Additional revenue streams such as subscription, and free-to-play models provide in-game upsell opportunities (such as upgrades and expansion packs) that allow developers to avoid upfront purchases. Partnerships with other entertainment sectors are another source of revenue, as was the case recently, when Fortnite partnered with the music industry to host an on-line rap concert which generated more than 27 million live viewers.
eSports in schools are projected to grow exponentially and are on the verge of going mainstream. The health crisis has transformed the future of eSports. It provides an extracurricular alternative that students can participate in whether in-person, remote, or in a HyFlex learning model. It offers a viable option to promote student engagement, and empower core learning values that can:
- Develop social skills, team building, and collaboration
- Encourage strategic thinking, planning, and problem solving
- Promote time management
- Manage success and failure
- Foster STEM learning
- Expand career opportunities
Creating an eSports program requires an investment in the proper networking and computing technology that can benefit your whole school. By providing students with access to the right technologies and infrastructure, schools can eliminate the need for expensive hardware platforms and still meet the high-performance eSports demands by delivering content using mobile/cloud-based platforms, streaming between devices. Other academic disciplines such as science, arts engineering, math, and technology labs also benefit from this improved infrastructure.
eSports may seem “non-traditional” to some of us, but rest assured it’s become an innovative way to reach students in this digital age. eSports will continue to play an increasing role in student’s lives as a growing platform that promotes fun competition, personalized learning, and student engagement. An investment in eSports is an investment in student success.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise can help improve your eSports program with services-oriented infrastructure and technology that empowers student success. Contact us.