Video gaming could lead to college scholarships

All those hours your kids spend playing video games may not be a waste of time after all. In fact, we have learned gaming ability could get them some college scholarship money. The fastest grown sport on college campuses right now is electronic sports or e-sports.

For gamers like Amy Yang at Miami University, it's a chance to compete at the varsity level.

"If you are in tip top shape, you can perform well, think well, play well," said Yang, a computer science major.

Miami University was the first Division One school in the country to form an e-sports varsity team and has already won a national championship. Glenn Platt, co-director of the program, said two of the team's 20 members are on partial scholarship of $4,000 each and there are plans to add more scholarships in the future as the program grows.

» READ MORE: 7 reasons video games could land your kid a college scholarship

"We have tryouts. There are some players we try to recruit with scholarship money," Platt said.

Team member Sean Mullee, who is majoring in business economics, has already turned his game playing skills into cash outside of the classroom.

"I actually did make a little bit of money over the summer playing some e-sports with a friend," Mullee said. "Won a $1,000 each in a tournament over the summer just having fun."

Like other sports, e-sports has coaches, practice, even physical workouts with a focus on teamwork. During a game, each player is on a headset talking to teammates and coordinating every move.

"It's all about everyone doing their part to support the whole team. You can never go it alone," said Justine Bader, Assistant Coach.

In the e-sports department, students are learning how to create and manipulate characters for games. This academic program is ranked 16th in the nation. In response to Miami University's success, other colleges and universities are now following in their footsteps to try and catch this wave of competitive electronic sports. Ohio State University is the latest school to launch an e-sports varsity team.

Experts said before you pass this off as just another passing fad, consider the billion-plus dollars in the e-sports and gaming economy.

"It's bigger than movies. It's bigger than television. It's bigger than print. It's become our art and it's also a pastime. I don't think it's going anywhere," said Phil Alexander, Miami University E-Sports Co-Director.

"The business ecosystem around this is gigantic," Platt said. "That's what we want our students to plug into. Those are the jobs of the future."

Most of the e-sports athletes may never go professional as players, but they will likely have a future in either game creation, team marketing or tournament management. Right now, there are about 100 varsity level e-sports programs at colleges and universities around the country. The National Association for e-sports estimates there is around $9 million in scholarship money available and that number is only expected to grown as e-sports expands to more and more campuses.

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