We believe that eSports and virtual games are the next frontier for intercollegiate competition. UCI plans to lead the way in terms of competition, supporting the community, teaching and academics, and providing entertainment. We hope that participating in eSports will allow students to engage in various aspects within the gaming world - game development, graphic design, marketing, and video production to name a few. Orange County is a hub for video game design and development and we want to prepare students for opportunities in the industry.
The many benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:
Worldwide recognition for UCI as a leader in eSports
Increased school spirit and Anteater Pride
Increased interest in attending UCI
Being a school of 1st choice for gamers
Increased national ranking for UCI
Scholarships for student gamers
Revenue for campus partners
Creating a 24-hour campus feel
Increasing student life and activity around the student center
Starting in the spring of 2016, we will assemble a board of advisors for the program.The board will consist of students, staff, faculty, and community members.
While video games and eSports appeal to a broad and diverse community, that diversity has not translated to the highest level of competition in the most popular eSports. UCI eSports is excited to encourage young women and gamers from underrepresented communities to learn the necessary skills to develop into top gamers. We will do this through outreach events in the community, eSports camps for young folks, and by highlighting success.
Video games, since their creation, have always been popular on college campuses. Highly skilled competition requires hours of individualized and team training, just like traditional sports. We plan to have our gamers model healthy lifestyles in terms of balancing academics, social life, work, gaming, nutrition and exercise. Additionally, today’s multiplayer games feature richly immersive worlds enjoyed by billions of people around the world. And gaming has benefits beyond entertainment. UCI’s own researchers in the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory found that playing three-dimensional video games can boost the formation of memories, adding to the trove of research that show these games can improve eye-hand coordination and reaction time, a finding that could help people who lose memory as they age or suffer from dementia. This study by Professor Stark at UCI demonstrates some of these findings.
Contrary to popular belief, gaming can be an incredibly social experience. Gaming events frequently attract hundreds or thousands of participants. UCI has several gaming clubs that gather weekly for fun, in-person, social events.
UCI eSports is built upon a model that will not cost the university any money. We will generate revenue through our arena to support operations and staffing while our generous sponsors will help fund scholarships and the initial infrastructure.
Nothing lasts forever and UCI eSports will need to adjust to changing times. We are prepared to reinvent ourselves to meet the needs and desires of our gaming community and look forward to the challenge.