UC Irvine’s Team of Brains, not Brawn

Cashel Downs, Writer

PV High School has a surplus of sports teams, many of which have Frosh-Soph, Junior Varsity, and Varsity teams. There are even a few spaces for golf and rugby on this already very extensive list. However, there’s a type of sport that always seems to be ignored, and the vast majority of people don’t even consider it a sport… yet. This would be gaming, a widespread form of interactive entertainment and – more recently – competition.

Online gaming arose along with a new genre – the MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online games) – in the early 2000s with games like World of Warcraft, EverQuest, and Runescape. These games skyrocketed in popularity, with World of Warcraft reaching 10 million subscribers during its second expansion. A part of these games is reserved for players pitting their avatars against other players: a mode of gameplay called PvP (Player versus Player). Since there are many competitive people in this world, it makes sense that PvP would escalate into something with higher stakes than the average match. Last year’s World Championship for World of Warcraft arenas reached a prize pool of $250,000 for the winning team.

Just last Friday, University of California, Irvine finished an extremely expensive endeavor; they turned an old-fashioned hang out room into a gaming paradise with 80 Noctis computers, all decked out with shiny new headsets, mice, and keyboards. Why, you ask? UC Irvine is the first well-known and public university that has created an esports team of gamers. Small, private universities have been supporting an esports team for a few years now, but moving to a much bigger and more widely known school is a small step for gaming and a very large step for gamers everywhere. This is also somewhat of a parallel to sports. What was supposed to be fun and games became something of a fierce competition involving risk and reward.
In the near future, gamers may not have to rely solely on their grades to get into a good university, much like athletes. Though in the general scheme of things, there aren’t many hardcore and competitive gamers out there, but it gives those who are a chance for a better education. No one becomes that good at a game without having their grades suffer for it, and passionate gamers should be punished for loving something that isn’t productive or considered “work.”