Thatcher High’s ESports Club looks to the future | Local News

Thatcher High’s ESports Club looks to the future |  Local News

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Click Here According to a National Public Radio article from January of 2020, more than 170 colleges and universities have eSports teams, offering more than $16 million in college scholarships. World wide, the market for eSports is booming. A study released by Newzoo, a games and eSports analytics company, projected that the worldwide professional eSports industry would generate over a billion dollars in revenue in 2021, partially because of an increase in viewers of live streamed eSports events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club’s numbers fluctuate meeting by meeting, with 18 members being the average number of students, Hughes said. Students come in with different video gaming skills and abilities. For the semester students brought in a video game system called Nintendo Switch to be able to practice Super Smash Bros.

Hughes hopes to upgrade the club’s equipment by applying for grants for video game equipment, like dedicated gaming computers for team members. If successful, the students could join the AIA’s official eSports league by the beginning of the school year and start playing against other teams across the state. The club was started the second semester of the school year after Hughes and sponsor Braunson Summers were approached by the Arizona Interscholastic Association to start an eSports league at the school. 

“It’s a fun place, I get to see people playing, and I feel like I’m getting better,” said team member Owen Porter, a freshman. Hughes said that while she has seen various studies that tout the educational benefits of video games, one of the more important aspects of the club is its ability to serve as a way for students to hang out and socialize with other students of similar interests. “You can come here to enjoy yourself,” Ornelas said, “Coming back from COVID, it was fun to come back to a group that’s just playing games.”

Ornelas added that it is cool knowing that eSports can lead to scholarships, professional eSports teams, and possibly working in the video game industry, but for now, Thatcher’s eSports club is just a nice place to hang out with friends and play video games. Team members, David Ornelas, a junior, said he’d like to join an eSports league team in college while working on a degree in computer science.

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