At surface level, playing an esport is just a way to pass the time. For Keita Tanaka (11) and Brandon Min (12), playing video games is a lot more than just the push of a button.
Tanaka has been playing the video game Overwatch, a competitive person-versus-person game, since 9th grade. Tanaka started playing more competitively a few months ago.
“Part of it was that I was starting to develop a better game sense and I’ve started to enjoy it a lot more,” Tanaka said. “I’ve also started to seriously consider joining college esports teams and getting scholarships,”
Tanaka has been focusing on universities such as Ohio State University and Purdue University. These colleges provide students involved in esports with various scholarship opportunities. Competitive play is an important part of taking advantage of these opportunities.
“Playing competitively is actively training yourself, studying the game and learning different strategies and play styles,” Tanaka said. “The real challenge is being good enough to be on a college team.”
Brandon Min (12) has been playing Squad, a multiplayer tactical military game, for 4 years. Though the game is relatively new, there are a variety of skills required to be able to play the game well.
“Communication is definitely essential to making sure that everything runs smoothly,” Min said.
Min often takes multi-management roles while playing the game, such as squad leader.
“As a squad leader, what’s important is to maintain communication and make sure every teammate is focused on the same objectives,”
Min is involved in a military program known as the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and playing Squad has overall benefited his abilities in his career.
“I know for a fact that because of those management and leadership skills that I
learned from that video game, it helped me in military programs as well,” Min said.
Overall, the future of esports is rising worldwide, academically and recreationally.
“I feel like the definition of sports is changing,” Min said. “When you think about sports, most people think of tennis and basketball, but competitive video games need communication and management skills just as much as other sports do.”