Rogers State University Esports Team provided setup, management, support and mentorship during the Oklahoma Esports League tournament on April 2.
“It is exciting to visit with high school gamers and spark an interest in attending college where they can do something they highly enjoy,” Esports Instructor Keith Denslow said. “Visiting with high school Esports coaches, students and parents helps them see the opportunity to go on to higher education and develop a career in the Esports industry.”
Esports is a form of competition using video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. During esports competition, gamers work individually and in teams in the online games such as “League of Legends,” “Overwatch,” “Hearthstone,” “Rocket League,” and more.
“Athletics and esports are not that far apart. Both involve competition against other groups, playing with friends, and developing talent with specific practice. Esports help develop analytic skills, fast decision making, technological knowledge, and teamwork,” Denslow said.
In 2018, RSU became the ﬁrst university in Oklahoma to offer Esports as an official university activity. The program is housed in a dedicated Esports Arena with 18 gaming stations and offers scholarships across four competitive teams. Among the general public, Esports has a relatively low profile but is wildly popular worldwide and quickly gaining traction in the United States. Esports is predicted to reach revenues of a half billion dollars by 2022, making it the fastest growing gaming industry.
“Esports is a community of players and spectators. Younger players want to watch and interact with college and professional players to learn more and develop as team members. It is important for RSU to welcome younger players into college esports as spectators and potentially future players. It was great to see their interactions and help these high school students develop their talent,” Denslow said.
Union High School hosted the event, which included students from 21 other school districts throughout Oklahoma.
“RSU students shout casted or broadcast the games over the RSU twitch channel for audiences in the activity center and at home to watch the games,” Denslow said. “RSU student provided the play-by-play and color comment during the steaming broadcast. The team also discussed scholarship opportunities with high school players throughout the day.”
The RSU student led team included Dalton Noland, Tyler Johnson, Kaleb Campbell, Alec Aubrey, Brandon Xiong, Alex Armendariz, Juan Ortiz, James Kepkro, Colt Berry, Logan Woller, Scott Pham and Egan Tran.
Senior Colt Berry, RSU Esports student manager, developed a partnership with OESL and oversaw production for the game Super Smash Bros Ultimate.
“I am extremely proud of my fellow peers who attended this event to talk to prospective students about Esports. I am grateful for the relationship we built with OESL, and we look forward to assisting with more events next year,” Berry said.
RSU is positioned to provide young people a place to develop the knowledge and skills to be leaders in the Esports world. The program is open for all enrolled RSU students to participate. Faculty, staff, students and community members can volunteer to support the program.
“As the COVID-19 restrictions lift, we hope to return to hosting game nights in Claremore. Many other esports programs are hosting gaming nights to help charities and we would like to find a local partner for that kind of event,” Denslow said.
RSU is a dynamic, regional university in the Tulsa metro offering degree programs and options meeting the needs for Oklahoma’s top 10 fastest growing industries as identified by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. RSU operates its main residential campus in Claremore, with additional campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor.
For more information about Esports, visit www.rsu.edu/levelup.