eSports looks to capitalize on last year’s success and gain recognition

It would be an understatement to say that the UBC eSports Association had an amazing year in 2015. In addition to winning the AfreecaTV International Collegiate Championship (AICC) in Gangnam, South Korea, the team also won the North American Collegiate Championship (NACC) tournament for League of Legends, a title that awarded $30,000 to each winning player for a total of $180,000. 

UBC eSports is now looking to build on last year’s successes in their new season, starting with their viewing party for their match against SFU in the 2016 League of Legends Campus series this Saturday. The other arena that eSports wants to improve in, however, is their role as a team at UBC and the general public’s perception of them as “just gamers.”

“It becomes like a job,” said Ramsey Devaraj, a first-year commerce student who has been playing with UBC eSports since the beginning of the year. “If you compare it to physical sports, some people [think that you’re] just sitting in front of a computer and playing. They don’t understand the amount of hours you have to put in to be this good at the game.”

“Usually, the team trains every week, hours and hours into screen practices … going over strategies, team compositions and how to work as a team. [People think] you sit in front of a computer and it’s not [just that], we put in easily 20 hours a week.”

Other players emphasized that given the team’s success, the university should give them greater support and a more legitimate role at UBC. 

“I feel like eSports is a growing thing, so it would help if UBC accepted us,” said Sean Wang, a second-year engineering student who was on last year’s winning team. “We play right now from our own homes. The UBC internet is really stable, so [having a place to practice on campus] is what we really need to play together right now.”

“There’s already some universities that are recognizing eSports and they’re even giving eSports scholarships,” said Jason Dong, a third-year statistics student and player on last year’s team. “eSports is a developing scene, it would be really cool to see if UBC could support it.”