eSports tournament to be held virtually at UW

Three gamers compete in last year’s local area network gaming tournament at UW’s Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center. This year’s tournament will be held virtually Saturday, Oct. 24. (UW Esports Club Photo)

The University of Wyoming ESports Club is virtually hosting the biannual local area network (LAN) gaming tournament Saturday, Oct. 24.

It might not be in the traditional room, but the free, friendly video gaming experience will still be held, according to club organizers. To join the server for a chance to compete, click here, or email Anthony Pappas, event coordinator, at apappas@uwyo.edu.

In the past, the tournament has been held in Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center, but it is moving to a virtual format.

“This event is for anyone and everyone,” Pappas says. “We’ve had players who haven’t even touched games before and try their hand at it during the LAN event.

Although eSports have come a long in a short period of time, the idea is nothing new, especially in university labs and dormitories. On Oct. 19, 1972, the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence at Stanford University organized the world’s first eSports tournament, named the Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics. Twenty-four players met to compete playing Spacewar!, a rudimentary spaceship battle game that utilized real-world physics initially developed by Steve Russell, Martin Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen in 1961.

The winner of the Intergalactic Olympics received an annual subscription to Rolling Stones magazine. 

Fast forward 50 years and champions of eSports competitions receive a little more than magazine subscriptions. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, in 2018, the eSports industry made a total of $906 million in revenue and the average year-on-year increase in total revenue generated by eSports was at an impressive 38.2%. Out of this, $694 million came from brand investments. That’s a 48% increase in brand investment from the previous year. The site predicts that by 2021, eSports will generate more than $1.6 billion in total revenue with $1.3 billion coming from brand investments.

This friendly UW ESport Club tournament will feature League of Legends; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; and Rocket League. Possible additions to the gaming lineup include Valorant; Hearthstone; and Overwatch, based on the competitive teams the club assembles.

“This year, it’s going to be a little more scheduled, as far as how the tournaments go,” says Pappas, an electrical engineering major from Cheyenne. “We want players who play multiple games to be able to compete in both games, if they want.”

The event also will have additional party games for attendees to play while not participating in one of the scheduled tournaments. The goal of the tournament is to build a sense of community, both within and outside the club, Pappas says.

“Now, with COVID, it’s sometimes harder to connect with other people around campus,” he adds. “This online event provides an opportunity to connect with others.”

For more information about the LAN tournament or the UW ESports Club, email Pappas at apappas@uwyo.edu.



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