Durham College embraces eSports with construction of gaming arena

Aligning with its focus on innovation, applied research and artificial intelligence, Durham College (DC) is pleased to announce their plans for the development and construction of an eSports Gaming Arena for students, which will allow the college to take a leading role in one of the fastest-growing industries in the gaming market.

The inclusive nature of online video games allows non-traditional athletes to compete in the team-based sport. Netting $1.5 billion dollars in 2017, according to SuperData, the eSports industry has noticed a sharp spike in investments after recording a net worth of nearly $900 million in 2016.

The arena is part one of a four-phase eSports plan, which will also see an eSports club, varsity program and eventually, integration into current and future curriculum.  It will provide space for students to participate in the sport – either recreationally or competitively, while also providing experiential learning opportunities for several programs.

“We are very excited about the future of eSports at DC,” said Marianne Marando, executive dean, School of Business, IT & Management, DC. “Construction of the arena is the first step in providing the necessary space and equipment for students to pursue their gaming passion and talents. More opportunities will become available once the broader program is launched, including attracting top gaming talent to the DC and providing experiential learning opportunities for students to participate in the planning, promotion, execution and broadcast of eSports events.”

Situated in the DC Student Centre at the Oshawa campus, the eSports Gaming Arena is part of a larger renovation of the former E.P Taylor’s pub space, which will see one half dedicated to eSports. The other half will be home to a student lounge and foodservice area. It will house 30 computers for use by eSports club members and 20 high-end computers located in a separate, glassed-off section of the room for varsity gamers to train. Additional tables and seating will allow for spectators as well as a lounge area with screens that will live stream the varsity/competitive games.

“We feel like this is the right time to offer eSports at the varsity level,” said Ken Babcock, director, Athletics and Recreation, DC. “Today’s younger generation are already extremely connected to video games and as technology continues to advance and future generations become more versed with the digital world, eSports will only continue to grow. I think it is already on its way to becoming as popular as more traditional sports, especially with the National Collegiate Athletic Association taking notice. We look forward to welcoming students to the college while also being able to offer them a chance to compete on DC’s varsity eSports team.”

Construction of the eSports Gaming Arena is tentatively scheduled to begin in summer 2018.