League of Legends

Believe it or not, there are people the world around who are actually making stable careers out of being professional eSports players. As silly as it may sound it can pay very well. If you're curious about making it a career for your future, there's a way you can apply for an eSports scholarship by trying out at UCI's new eSports facility.

Engadget is reporting that the University of California, Irvine, has an official competitive gaming initiative with a $15,000 scholarship available for up to 10 League of Legends eSports competitors . In fact, the article states that a new 3,500 square foot facility was constructed, filled to the brim with PCs and various eSports titles in order to lure potential competitors into the fold. The facility is set to open on September 23rd and works as both the broadcasting and training facility at the university.

According to University of California Irvine's director of eSports, Mark Deppe...

Esports is the future of competition. Period. It transcends language, geography, race, age, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability and many other identities.

This is partially true. While eSports definitely transcends any boundaries or borders and brings people together like no other pastime, the reality is that the future of eSports as a financially stable industry is somewhat in question.

While some companies have been going in big on the eSports sector, back in July GamesIndustry.biz spoke with various professionals within the industry about regulation, revenue and the "Wild West" nature of eSports at the moment. One of the topics centered on how some eSports players resulted in partnering with the skins gambling rings in order to make some extra cash on the side. According to Ari Evans, the founder and CEO of the eSports broadcasting firm Maestro, a lot of the side gigs come as a result of the fact that eSports isn't quite generating the revenue that the media lets on, saying...

Despite how big [eSports] seems, it's also tiny in terms of revenue - very small, [...] A lot of companies and startups in this space are kinda having trouble figuring out how to monetise it. Most eSports leagues run at a loss.

They're not a profit centre. They're a loss leader as a marketing tactic, to push the other main revenue streams of these titles - primarily in-game transactions.

Last year eSports generated around $612 million in revenue according to a report from SuperData Research, but a lot of it was generated from microtransactions and related sales of in-game goods purchased from engaged viewers. SuperData even admits in the report that "Competitive gaming is a marketing strategy, not a revenue driver."

NetherRealm, Capcom, Valve and other studios use DLC and microtransactions to work as a buffer for the prizes in tournaments for games like Counter-Strike: GO, DOTA 2, Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat X. The eSports industry is expected to be profitable down the line, worth about $4 billion by 2018 according to a report by Activate, but it isn't quite there yet.

Nevertheless, companies like KontrolFreek and institutions like the University of California Irvine are hoping to capitalize on the ever-growing user engagement within the eSports sector. UCI will offset the $250,000 costs for the arena (which they are saying is cost-neutral) by charging students $4 an hour to use the facilities. They're hoping the engagement from the enthusiasts will offset administrative costs.

UCI has another round of League of Legends tryouts scheduled to start on September 26th, so you can try your hand at the game in hopes of making the team and earning a scholarship.

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