On the Rise: Esports

Over the past two months, many campus activities have been cancelled or altered due to the current conditions of COVID-19. Since many students have been secluded in their off-campus residence or at home, most registered student organizations have been reduced to meeting virtually or postponing all events until the fall.

But one group in particular is thriving: The Maverick Gaming Community.

The Maverick Gaming Community is a student organized hub for gamers to connect and compete in more than 35 online games. The community has a channel on Discord, a communication application, for Maverick gamers to connect across numerous platforms like PC, XBOX, PS4 and Switch. By joining, students are able to find other Maverick gamers to play with or against and stay up to date on gaming opportunities through student organized events and tournaments.

According to Andrew Weinzierl, a member of the community, gaming has grown immensely in popularity over the last few years. “Having Esports on campus is an amazing way to connect students who might normally not be as involved and serves as an opportunity to make connections and friends throughout the college experience,” Weinzierl says. This is especially true during this unprecedented time, when it is harder to stay involved in the campus community and meet other people.

With the ever-growing popularity of gaming, Esports formed as a sporting competition through organized, multiplayer gaming. Jacquie Lamm, another gamer in the community, explains that “Esports is a competitive video game competition that can be played at the high school, college, casual or professional level. Most games are two teams, comprised of five to six team members, competing against each other towards winning a match.”

Despite current conditions, Esports is still seeing great support from Maverick gamers. The MavLoL (League of Legends) and the CSGO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) student organizations even held a successful tournament this past month titled MavRivals. Although they would have liked to have hosted it in person, the community was still able to provide quality entertainment through Twitch, a live-streaming platform for gamers, which is exactly what students need right now.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and unpredictable; playing video games provides a sense of relief for many people, including myself, who want to pause the real world temporarily and immerse themselves in a virtual experience,” Weinzierl says. “Playing games from the comfort of one's home is a safe way to promote social interaction during these unprecedented times.”

The Maverick Gaming Community is proud to give students a sense of community during a time when they need it most. Thanks to current technology, students are able to still find support and some sense of normalcy during this time. As gaming continues to grow and gamers learn new skills, the community is excited to see what’s next.

“We hope to have a good turn out this summer…and are excited to see what comes next for Minnesota State Mankato and Esports this fall,” says Lamm.