Scholarship money for playing video games


Reagan Rude, Cutting Edge Writer

All of those all-nighters (and all-dayers) spent playing video games can finally pay off…literally. Being a skilled video gamer no longer gets you just street cred, colleges are now offering scholarships for video gaming.

Playing video games against other people is nothing new. This has been a popular pastime since the arcade days of Pacman and Space Invaders. In the past decade, however, this recreational activity has been taken to the next level.

“eSports”, short for electronic sports, has become increasing popular. eSports includes competitive, organized video gaming. During events, skilled teams face off against one another in popular games such as Fortnight, League of Legends or Madden NFL. The advancement of live streaming technology has made it possible for viewers to watch these events unfold in the comfort of their own home from all around the world.

eSports is becoming more and more popular, and according to a report from Newzoo—a market analytics company—380 million people worldwide are expected to watch eSports this year. In July, ESPN and Disney XD announced that they secured a multi-year deal to broadcast the Overwatch League, a brand-new international league with twelve franchises centered around the incredibly popular multiplayer first-person shooter game, Overwatch. According to research from Newzoo, 588 major esports events were held in 2017.

Due to its sudden popularity, colleges have started to take interest in the world of eSports.  More than 50 colleges have varsity eSports programs, each recognized by a governing body called the National Association of Collegiate eSports. NACE championships give out thousands of dollars in prize money, which is put towards scholarships for the winners.

New York University, for example, offers a $24,000 scholarship to the applicant who best demonstrates an active participation in the fighting game community, an interest in game design with a focus on innovating in the field of competitive games and a legitimate financial need.

As eSports continues to grow, so will the number of scholarships that colleges offer. So if you are passionate about video-gaming, make sure to be on the lookout for them!