Let the video games begin

November 19, 2021

Opening of a new esports lounge to offer fun, community and professional skills

The chairs are soft and the screen is huge. Arizona State University’s new esports lounge is a fun place for students to congregate and play video games.

But the fair, which opened on the Tempe campus this month, is also a way for students to hone their skills for a career path. The global video game industry is expected to represent $ 221 billion in 2025, more than double that of 2017.

The new esports fair was developed by the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a transdisciplinary initiative between the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and the Ira A. Fulton Engineering Schools.

“We cater to the needs of students, and there is a much broader trend in the industry where esports is seen as a tool for recruiting students and sees esports as an entry into technological areas such as design. of games and animation, “said Pavan Turaga, director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

The new lounge, in the B-wing of Stauffer Hall, has 12 HP Omen gaming computers with special gaming chairs that support the back and neck, as well as an 82-inch screen. KNEW Esports Association group of students raised funds for comfortable sofas and chairs for the living room, which will arrive in a few months. Game companies donated peripherals like keyboards and headphones.

Students pay $ 5 an hour to play and get a discount when they buy longer blocks of time. The money pays for the hardworking students who administer the space, which is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for all students taking arts, media, and engineering classes. Longer hours and access for more ASU students are planned for the next semester, according to Connor rawls, research specialist and alumnus of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. He watches the living room.

“It is intended to be a community cultural center centered on the love of video games, games and competition,” he said.

“One of our eventual goals is to have tournaments where people can come and play in groups or with other people online and have an audience and commentators and really try to create a scene of events led by the people. students. ”

Phaelen Bride (left), first year digital literacy student, guides Sophie Armstrong, second year digital literacy student, as she plays “Valorant” in the new esports lounge at Stauffer Hall on the campus of Temple. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News

In addition to opening the esports fair, the School of Arts, Media and Engineering is also adding a focus on games to its curriculum.

“Esport gives players an opportunity to build a career as an athlete, and that’s the way of celebrities in the public eye,” said Turaga.

“But in addition, there is a whole support industry: how you promote esports, how you create content; experience and design.

“There is huge potential for careers in STEM for people who do not have a background in STEM. You can graduate in the arts while still being a functional engineer, and we want to be that school that bridges these technical careers through video games. “

Phaelen Bride, a freshman who specializes in digital literacy, said she plays video games pretty much every day and hopes to pursue a career as a video game developer.

She says the new living room is important for the students.

“It will definitely help the students to de-stress, and any student who wants to practice esports professionally can develop their skills and make a career out of it,” she said.

“It’s a space where students can just be themselves and it’s very welcoming. “

The salon currently offers eight games, and Bride says her favorite is “Valorant.”

A screen shows a video game in progress while the playing student is seen over his shoulder

The competitive video game “Valorant” is one of the games available in the new esports lounge at Stauffer Hall on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News

“One of the games that I want to develop would be a competitive game, and I would like people to play it as a sport, like ‘Valorant’,” she said.

Turaga, who is also an associate professor, said the students requested the fair in order to build community.

“Gambling is not seen as mainstream academically, but in our department there is serious academic leverage around gambling.”

Top photo: (Left to right) Phaelen Bride, Sophie Armstrong, Jackson Ourada and Mia Ramos play the “Valorant” video game in the esports lounge at Stouffer Hall on the Tempe campus on November 12. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News

Mary beth faller

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