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A Synergy Between Colleges and Video Games?

Tell most kids that they can play video games and possibly get a scholarship to college, and you can just imagine the smile that will appear on their faces. eSports (Electronic sports; also known as competitive gaming) is becoming popular with many notable colleges and universities like Princeton, Harvard, M.I.T, and San Jose State University in California. Universities and colleges are divided into eSport leagues, with the biggest college league boasting over 10,000 students. 


And there is big money to be made. The winners of big college-level tournaments can earn enough prize money to pay their tuition for several years. Game makers are also taking advantage of the eSports craze by using the publicity to their advantage. They are funding prize scholarships and monetarily supporting teams in exchange for brand promotion. 

While some people feel that video games are a waste of time and brain power, others feel they build critical analytical thinking and strengthen the ability to multi-task.  In the case of collegiate-level eSports teams, if the gamers don't go to class and get the grades, then they have no use for the scholarships that the gaming companies are providing. The bottom line is the gamer needs to maintain a certain GPA to stay in school.

Regardless of your position on the benefits or evils of gaming, it appears that eSports is here to stay, with several educational institutions already treating eSports with the same popularity and privileges notable in other sports programs. One top-playing student said when his name was called during roll call, the class turned to look to see who he was because of his online gaming fame. In one eSports training program, students were said to be getting up to 50% of their tuition paid, plus room and board. It makes me think that being a competitive video gamer might not be such a bad gig after all! And, in the event of a career-ending thumb injury, they still have their education to fall back upon.

Marc Fogarty, Audit Partner and a member of EisnerAmper's Public Companies, Cleantech and International Services Groups. Marc is experienced in public accounting, serving public and private organizations and has presented on IFRS to professional groups.

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