Epic’s free to play battle royale Fortnite (Free) is rapidly snowballing into being the Biggest Thing Ever, bigger than Minecraft ($6.99) even, which is a feat in itself. Fortnite’s rapid rise in popularity has all sorts of people paying attention to the game, including universities anxious to entice new students with scholarships in all shapes and sizes. Cleveland’s Ashland University announced that Fortnite has been added among the other games in their esports program, and I’m sure many other schools will be fast to follow. Their esports scholarships are only for $4,000… But, hey, if you would have told me I’d have $4,000 going towards my education because I’m really good at a game I played on my phone back when I was of college age, I’d probably have asked to have some of whatever it is you’re smoking.
As esports continue to see more and more mainstream market penetration, dealing with video games as a parent becomes increasingly difficult. When I was at the Clash Royale Crown Championship, a decent amount of the competitors were teenagers accompanied by their parents. In talking to these parents, all of them had similar stories in the careful path they walked when it came to encouraging how good they are at these games while not allowing them to take over their lives- Particularly as most people involved in esports “age out" in their early 20’s as reaction times naturally slow.
Particularly with the push to get esports into the actual Olympics, I think this whole space of sponsorships and more organizations pushing to get involved in the world of competitive gaming is going to be a fascinating one to watch over the next few years.