Riot Games and PlayVS
Riot Games is once again taking esports to a whole new level. On Thursday, PlayVS announced the two companies partnered to introduce League of Legends esports into high schools. PlayVS’ LoL program is also sanctioned the National Federation of State High School Associations, which governs high school sports regulations across the United States.
The partnership was announced on Twitter with a short video. This video explained the program and made any age fan excited about the opportunities it presents. It shows a team of teenagers playing a match, planning their drafts and execute their strategies. All the while, star LCS players like Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng and Zaqueri “Aphromoo” Black appeared on screen. With this, PlayVS expertly ties in the professional scene and the dream of being a pro at the same time.
There are schools in five states that are already competing in “Season Zero,” essentially a test run in preparation of the inaugural season. Though there are a smaller number of schools participating now, signups have started. Anyone can sign up and refer a coach to the program, and PlayVS will give them all the resources they need to get started.
This is a huge move to expand and legitimize esports as a productive and useful activity for young adults to spend their time on. Many gamers grow up with parents telling them that video games are useless. It’s a social stigma that persists, but this program may be a step to changing it.
Some of the benefits of traditional sports that parents prize so highly are applicable to esports. According to PlayVS’ website, skills like strategic thinking, teamwork, and leadership can be learned with their league. It also helps schools and students to develop their character and build a better sense of community.
If this is successful, it is highly likely that other esports titles will follow suit. This will allow schools to have vibrant communities of all sorts of sports and athletes, where everyone can have a place to belong. It may also have a profound effect on upcoming talent for professional esports. It will be giving young players a chance to compete seriously and make a name for themselves early on. Because talent will be fostered even earlier, the standards of play may increase over time when these players mature.
Everyone dreams to be on the stage, competing in a game they’re so heavily invested in. It’s always been an option for people attracted to traditional sports, but isn’t as widely available for the rising esports. Now it is, and this vision is being expanded past pros and university students to younger players. It will be exciting to follow how the leagues develop, how many schools will adopt it in the future and how it will affect the careers of up-and-coming players.
Featured image via PlayVS.
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