After months of planning and a trial run with the recent BIG EAST eSports Invitational, the new DePaul eSports Gaming Center will officially open to the university community following a 2 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony April 23. Located in the concourse level of the DePaul Center on the Loop campus, the gaming center will provide a location for all DePaul gamers to meet, play games and compete together between classes, in the evening or on Saturdays.
“The DePaul eSports Gaming Center is designed to host all eSports competitors among our students, faculty and staff,” says Bob McCormick, vice president for information services. “Since eSports advances a player’s critical thinking, teamwork and communications skills as well as providing fun entertainment, we designed this center for novice gamers as well as experts. We welcome all in the DePaul community to visit.”
eSports, or competitive video gaming, has exploded in the last five years, resulting in an industry that’s heading towards the billion-dollar mark and sees an estimated 165 million people around the world watching at least once a month according to a Newzoo global eSports market report.
Around the country, more than 70 universities field varsity teams, with DePaul’s Loop neighbor, Robert Morris University Illinois, fielding the first varsity program in the country in 2014. While any future growth of DePaul eSports will depend largely on the feedback and ideas of students, the gaming center will help bring together a big, but often overlooked, base of students on campus, explains Esteban Perez, a senior accounting major, Chicago native and president of DePaul’s Rocket League team that competed in the BIG EAST eSports Invitational.
“The gaming center excites me because of how much legitimacy it will bring to collegiate eSports throughout the campus and the city,” Perez says. “This center will absolutely increase awareness and interest for eSports and will also incentivize other colleges and universities to adopt …