SPORTS Despite coronavirus, Drake goes forward with eSport team By Luke Murray and Jack Reuter Drake plans to implement an eSport team next year, but the current pandemic seems to have delayed action. The eSports industry’s popularity has exploded in the past decade, with nearly 200 colleges housing competitive video gaming leagues and offering $15 million worth of scholarships in the United States. Drake’s eSport team has been in the making for several years. Driven by the rising competitive gaming market, Interscholastic the the Federation California (CIF), governing body for high school partnered with the eSport contractor PlayVS to bring it to public California schools. Since he was Drake’s athletic director, a big proponent of eSports at Drake is Assistant Principal Nate Severin. “I think that based on conversations I’ve had with students about what games they’re playing in the excitement about a potential opportunity eSports... That’s why I think we should do it... and the way they do it in a school environment and compete as a school, as a pirate, I think would be awesome,” Severin said. 23 The Jolly Roger | June 2020 PlayVS provides schools the platform to build and manage eSport teams. Associated schools access three video games for competitive play: League Legends (LoL), Rocket League, and Smite. The company claims that eSports provides another option for student engagement, which leads to greater academic success. eSports also introduces students to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects due to the computational aspect of the games. Along with this, PlayVS’s website claims that “like any team sport, eSports requires roughly three weeks for the postseason. PlayVS charges $64 for each student. The fee covers the three base games (roughly $20-$40 each), and unlocks all characters for LoL and Smite. According to the website notagamer.net, a player competing in 10 regular LoL matches will unlock all champions in about a year. Students can link their existing accounts to PlayVS for potential college library, of recruitment. Both Smite and Rocket League require Steam, the cloud-based gaming The company claims unblocked from the school’s wifi. Besides an account for the game, students need a computer with a mouse and headset. While consoles aren’t allowed, students can plug in controllers into PCs. Severin assures that the school will provide students with computers. He also suggests Drake eSports could practice at the school’s computer labs. that eSports provides another option for student engagement, which leads to greater academic success. enormous amounts of communication, collaboration, and leadership among athletes.” The company outlines two seasons, one in the fall and one in the spring. Each season lasts eight weeks and playoffs, with each having two weeks for preseason and based LoL is a teamcompetitive strategy game with more than 115 million players in 2019. Players must destroy the enemy’s ‘Nexus’ at the opposite end of the field while protecting their own. By defeating other players and collecting computer-controlled minions, they earn points used to increase their team’s control of the game. Smite follows LoL’s game mechanics, with players defeating three subordinate bosses and then

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