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WMU Gives E-Sports A Higher Profile

William Edgerton

Western Michigan University has revitalized its e-sports program for competitive video gaming with new games, a new location, and a new purpose.

The program has been around since 2013 but it got a much higher profile this year with new computers and a theater for live events. Organizers say they want to get more students involved in events on campus and integrate e-sports into the community.

WMU E-Sports Coordinator Tavian Napier says the program also offers students experience in a growing, multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Whether it be competing, commentating, doing the lighting, so kind of creating like a potential ecosystem in order to have them get firsthand experience in this industry.”

Napier says students can play video games competitively regardless of gender or physical limitations.

“You go to a football game, not everyone plays football. They might have played it in high school years ago but most people who watch competitive video games play in some capacity. And so they play and are around it for a good amount of time they’re also able to appreciate the high level skill that’s required.”

WMU E-Sports program organizers say they want to eventually have a varsity team that offer scholarships to players. Napier says the team is open to any student who wants to try out.

“A lot of people love video games and a lot of people want to compete in it and there’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in being passionate about something that you love to do. So give it a try, the worst you can do is fail and then you can just try again.”

The e-sports team has already played several games at Western’s Little Theater on Oakland Drive. It will continue to play throughout the year.

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