Jan. 25, 2024
Reading time: 2 minutes, 15 seconds
UWG Esports team members

In October 1958, William Higinbotham created the world’s first video game, “Tennis for Two.” Video games exploded in popularity throughout the ’70s and earned the hearts of Americans for decades to come. The year 2014 cemented the significance of video games in education with the development of “Esports” at a collegiate level. In 2021, the University of West Georgia entered the E-arena. 

And now, just a few years later, the Wolves are making their mark in the Esports world, growing the team, gaining XP (or experience points) by winning two post-season championships last season.

“Our varsity Esports team was created in the summer of 2021, and we started by playing League of Legends,” said UWG Esports Coach Joseph Lee. “Since then, we have had a huge amount of growth. With over 107 student applicants, we have four teams now – League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Valorant and Super Smash Bros Ultimate.”

Esports are video games played in a highly organized competitive environment in collegiate competitions. Players form teams to compete against other collegiate programs at universities.

UWG Esports player

The teams compete in the National Association of Collegiate Esports Conference (NACE) and the Peach Belt Conference against a multitude of universities throughout the competition season. The teams dedicate themselves to extensive practice remotely and in designated practice areas on campus, leading the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Overwatch 2 teams to become NACE Varsity+ Division champions. 

Competing in high-stress environments as a unit provides these students with crucial collaborative and communication skills.

“There’s a whole different dynamic of communication and execution that comes into play in Esports, and it’s a beneficial learning curve,” explained Lee. “Having people you can rely on, who will be your bedrock when stressful situations arise, translates into real-life experiences.”

Esports benefits current team members and provides opportunities for 6th-12th graders through the UWG’s summer camps, hosted by Continuing Education. These students will be able to participate in Esports and explore video game streaming that can translate into potential career opportunities. In turn, these camps aid the Esports team in scouting future generations of the team that can ease their transition into college with a support system. 

UWG Esports set of headphones sitting on a table next to a computer

“There’s a great sense of team camaraderie that gets built with these players who learn to support and rely on one another throughout their college experience and beyond,” Lee said.

The Esports team looks forward to another successful year in their digital arenas during the Spring semester season preceding the playoff finals. 

“We’re always striving to improve even after we win,” said Lee. “Even after coming off a season with two championship winners, we want to learn from our mistakes, as these failures can catalyze success.”

Those interested in joining Esports can reach out through the UWG website or by visiting the team’s Instagram and Twitch pages.

photography by Miranda Daniel and Julia Mothersole