Competitive gaming has the potential to bring the University recognition and status
Competitive gaming, also known as esports, has gained widespread popularity over the past decade, occasionally breaching the public mainstream when large events dole out millions of dollars in prize money to young prodigies. As esports organizations push into the collegiate sphere and video gaming continues to establish itself as a spectator sport, many universities have established programs to field competitive rosters for extramural competition. In fall 2020, SUNY launched the SUNY Esports League, with events offered for six popular gaming titles.
In the 2020-2021 inaugural season of the SUNY Esports League, Binghamton University fared relatively well. The ability for two BU teams to be champions of their events was an undeniable indication of the gaming talent already residing in our dorms, but as other schools expanded their esports programs and began to compete nationally, BU has stagnated.
In 2020, SUNY Buffalo moved five esports titles to varsity status, and Albany has had a dedicated competitive gaming program since 2019. With both of these schools unveiling facilities for a new breed of student athletes, BU’s esports amenities, run entirely through the Video Game Association (VGA), are beginning to look archaic.
As a freshman who has played video games competitively since I was 12 years old, the possibility of continuing my esports career into college was something I sacrificed by choosing BU. I don’t regret my choice — there aren’t a lot of college esports programs running small esports titles such