The Big 10 conference today decided to embrace virtual worlds a little bit more today, officially joining the world of e-sports.
"In the Big Ten Network’s League of Legends season, teams in the Big Ten’s East and West divisions will play each other in best-of-three, round-robin competitions, and the top four from each division will then enter a single-elimination bracket. (The two Big Ten universities not participating this year, Nebraska and Penn State, are in different divisions. The Big Ten has 14 members.)
While lacking the mainstream visibility of traditional college sports, e-sports are wildly popular, even as spectator sports, among young people of the type sought after by both colleges and advertisers. Professional gaming contests frequently sell out major arenas, including Madison Square Garden, and several top European soccer clubs have signed e-sports players as brand ambassadors."
It’s an interesting trend and I’m curious how it’ll develop. Obviously universities are just following the money. If so much money is available, will more formalized professional circuits or leagues start forming? Also, are we going to start seeing students attend college on scholarship based on their skills in video games?
Traditionally when something has been called the electronic version of some previous product/service, it has come to basically dominate that market. Email is far more prevalent in our lives than mail, and smartphones are much more common than phones. Is a similar transition happening here?