Athletic scholarships are par for the course at many universities, and have been for ages. Gaming scholarships, though? That’s a whole new world.
With eSports beginning to blur the line between sports and videogames, already attracting crowds and monetizing, it’s become impossible to deny that gaming is less a nerdy hobby than it is a budding industry. This isn’t exactly a surprise, given the rise of video games this era. Advanced technology has created hyper-realistic video games much less likely to cause head trauma than its on-field counterparts.
Physical athletics may not decline; this isn’t a zero-sum game. But while football and its ilk are well-established, we’re just scraping the surface of what videogames have to offer. For young video game enthusiasts, that could be a big deal.
So, what can a young gamer expect in way of scholarships and careers?
Today, students can earn various scholarships just for gaming. One prominent example is the Twitch & Alienware scholarship program, which provides $10,000 scholarships to five students every year, provided they show mastery in their favorite game and in the classroom.
They can also get scholarships for the design, development, and business side of video games. The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences awards two types of scholarships, one for the development of interactive entertainment and the other for the business side, including executive leadership and law.
As eSports transitions into a recognized varsity sport, schools may begin recruiting and awarding scholarships to skilled gamers, too. Robert Morris University in Chicago became the first school to make competitive gaming a varsity sport, offering $19,000 scholarships to talented students. What’s more, unlike other college sports, eSports students can continue playing tournaments (and earning money) outside of academia.
Of course, some students may decide that college is not worth their while, considering they can monetize gaming without a formal education. Gamers can be recruited to the military as drone operators, or become lucrative online gaming personalities. I may not be incredibly likely, but it’s possible, especially as the public’s appetite for gaming grows.
Long story short, like everything else, videogames have huge potential for the talented and ambitious. Casual gamers should probably stake their bets elsewhere, but at least they no longer have to defend their hobby from naysayers.