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Esports Making Entry Into High Schools

This news piece reads like its straight out of the onion, yet it’s very real – with millions of dollars backing it up. A startup company called PlayVS wants to introduce esports games into high schools, bringing the addictive thrill of competitive esports right into the lion’s den! The esports platform managed to raise nearly $15 million in seed funding from New Enterprise Associates, the San Francisco 49ers, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and venture capitalist Nas Jones.

To ensure they are able to get testing grounds, PlayVS partnered up with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which will give it access to competitions in 50 states.  The NFHS is responsible for crafting playing rules for sports at high school level and has responsible for administering programs in speech, theater, music and debate.

Once the esports startup begins to have its way, students will be able to compete in video games at their own school, in much the same way they would with any other sport like baseball, basketball or football. PlayVS plans on doing this by providing powerful software and technological tools which can allow non-techie personnel like teachers and faculty members to define rules for students to compete.

PlayVS wants their technology to one day allow college recruiters to reach out to schools and scout for talent.

A preseason will be held in October for students to make teams and compete in low stakes matches. Once December rolls around, the regular season will start and once the states are split into four conferences, the students will be able to compete on a weekly basis.

Speaking to a media outlet, PlayVS Ceo Delane Parnell says, “In order for esports to grow, it will have to mirror traditional sports in some ways. There have to be a lot of similarities.”

Player hunt will commence from January when the top teams from each conference will face off each other in a bid to win the state championship. Such events will be attended by each player in person. Because there are going to be a myriad of possibilities with multiple games and teams, one can expect a large community base to form once the program kicks off.

PlayVS hasn’t announced the games, but there will be four genres that that will have a total of five to eight games for players to participate in. Popular genres that we can expect to get featured include sports, action, adventure and mobile. Gamers won’t be restricted by any one type of game and can compete in several games at once.

CEO Parnell believes that there are multiple opportunities for high school players to avail college scholarships once they prove themselves competitive enough in esports, but most of these positions go unfulfilled because of the lack of organized competitions.

Parnell drew a parallel between organized sports programs like NCAA which allow high school athletes to perform under one umbrella to make it easier to avail as many opportunities as possible. Parnell wants to use the popularity of esports to serve a similar purpose in video games.