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Ohio State to offer esports program, build gaming arena

October 9, 2018

Ohio State to offer esports program, build gaming arena

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Ohio State University is getting into the esports game.

While other schools in the state such as Miami University and the University of Akron already offer esports programs, Ohio State is developing what it describes as a comprehensive, first-of-its kind esports program.

“With Ohio State being a leader in engineering, academics, research and medicine, it seems a natural fit to pull all of these together to support the esports program,” Deborah M. Grzybowski, co-director of the game studies and esports curriculum development, said in an announcement.

Students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields of study offered across five colleges and might include esports management, game art and production, game design, programming and more. There will be elective course offerings and online certification programs as well.

The university will also field esports teams to compete against other universities in a new league formed by the Electronic Gaming Federation-- sort of the NCAA of college esports. Gamers will play and practice in a state-of-the-art arena equipped with over 80 seats, along with gaming consoles and virtual reality systems and a broadcast booth. The arena will be open to all students.

Additionally, the influx of gamers will allow researchers at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center to study the brains of elite esports players to find out what makes them tick.

“We have a lot to learn from studying esports athletes, from their exceptional reaction times and rapid decision-making abilities to their physical attributes and health behaviors,” said James Onate, co-director of the Sports Medicine Movement Analysis and Performance Program at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, in a statement.

When the program launches, Ohio State will join more than 60 colleges and universities with esports programs. Competitive video gaming has rapidly become popular in recent years but is only beginning to reach the mainstream. Esports is expected to become a billion dollar industry by 2019, according to market researcher New Zoo.

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