The High School eSports League, which has been running for five weeks, has attracted 50 teams from throughout the country for its inaugural season.
League of Legends is the game of choice and, as the interest explodes, the expansion of the HSL is on the cards.
Worldwide, eSports is experiencing huge growth, with revenue and viewership figures moving at a rapid rate as gamers from all walks of life emerge.
The HSL has provided an opportunity for pupils to represent their school when they might not have had the avenue to do so.
Manurewa High School is a college that has seen major growth in its gaming community, with hundreds of students playing League of Legends.
The game is offered schoolwide and teacher Steven Van Garderen says it has been great to have some organised competition against other colleges after playing in-house games for the past four years.
“The problem was that we wanted to be recognised as a school team. We wanted to play for our school. We wanted to challenge other schools to see who was best,” he says.
“The HSL has meant that schools now have somewhere they can come together and that ‘finding’ has been done for us. There is a game roster and a table so we can look at rankings. Our school name is in bold print and we know that when we challenge other teams we are playing for school pride.”
Running a nationwide competition presents its share of technical challenges and that’s where Computer Power Plus steps in to provide support for the HSL.
Computer Power Plus is a national provider of IT training and their students, through the TechCafé initiative, help to facilitate the smooth running of the competition on a weekly basis.
TechCafé gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on IT industry experience, which ensures they hit the ground running when they enter the workforce.
As pupils move towards deciding what they will do once they leave high school, they have a number of choices and working in IT is emerging as a logical step for gamers.
Finian Creswell, who runs the eSports club at Burnside High School in Christchurch, says the HSL is a great launching pad for furthering a students’ involvement in gaming, which could lead to a stronger interest in IT.
“This league is a real step towards the legitimisation of eSports for my students and I can see that being hugely impactful in the choices they make in the future with careers in mind.”
Stanley Chang, who administers eSports at Howick College, says IT work is a natural fit for many of his pupils.
“The majority of students that joined the Howick College League of Legends Club want to work in the IT industry,” he says.
“A lot of students I have spoken to got into League of Legends because of their passion for computer games. Some of these students have a background in building their own computers, have written codes for Minecraft and produced YouTube clips for their channels. I think IT has a big influence on these students and that in return, they are likely to work in the IT industry in the future.”
Computer Power Plus, who also sponsors the competition, has recently launched a campaign called ‘Gaming Was My Gateway’, which aims to capitalise on students’ interest in gaming and how it could lead to a career in IT.
Jay Bocock, general manager of Computer Power Plus, says there’s great potential among young gamers to move into IT work in the future.
“They have analytical minds, the ability to think quickly and show application to their craft,” he says.
Computer Power Plus has campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and offers flexible study hours with strong job placement rates.
Courses range from a New Zealand Certificate in Information Technology to a Diploma in Advanced Network Engineering.
Will gaming be your gateway?
HSL is organised by Letsplay.live, Computer Power Plus, TechCafe and The NZ eSports Federation.
For more information on HSL and to catch all the action as it unfolds, visit:
http://letsplay.live/hsl/ or www.facebook.com/highschoolleague.
This article is also published on JETmag.co.nz