The world of competitive gaming, also known as eSports, has seen a tremendous increase over the last decade. Utah schools, including Weber State University, are now taking part in this new form of competition.

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Weber State University’s eSports club was originally created in 2013, strictly as a “League of Legends” group.

Students Brayden Vera and Colton Bell saw the potential in the “League of Legends” club. They noticed the rising popularity of eSports as a competitive collegiate sport and decided to make some changes.

Within the last year, Vera and Bell, along with other students, have introduced more games, such as “Super Smash Bros. 4,” “Rocket League” and “Overwatch,” and created dedicated teams for competition.

Ace Tech Charter High School student Jaycen Strickland competes in the High School Esports Invitational (HSEI) 2017 at Robert Morris University in Chicago on May 6, 2017. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

One of their main goals was to build an eSports community within WSU’s campus.

“ESports is an inclusive environment,” Bell said. “People want to bring others in, teach them how to play the new games and just have fun.”

The club allows students and members of the community to join.

As of December 2017, WSU’s eSports club became a chapter of Tespa, an organization dedicated to competitive collegiate gaming.

The club has reached over 40 members on Weber Sync and has over 120 members on their Facebook group.

“At our first Tespa sponsored event, we swiped in over 70 Weber State students,” Bell said.

There are a number of tournaments in Utah that draw schools from northern and southern Utah to compete against one another.

“Weber State eSports is a part of ICE, which is the intercollegiate eSports,” Vera said. “Every year they host a giant tournament where all the major universities in Utah come together.”

This year, the tournament will be held on April 7-8 in Park City.

This is one of many tournaments that the Weber State eSports club will be competing in.

“We’ve been practicing and getting ready for the tournament,” Bell said. “We are gonna bring some heat and give the University of Utah a run for their money.”

The club has improved their skills over the last year by focusing on practice.

“Tespa does a ranking system for how well you do your events, and we shattered their expectations at our first event,” Bell said.

While eSports may not be seen or viewed as a traditional sport, there is still a lot of training and practice that is involved.

“It’s like sports, but for people who are not really into sports,” Vera said.

A new lab for the eSports club will open later this summer in the University Village. “The lab at University Village will be tailored to eSports users,” Sarah Mackay, Lab Supervisor, said.

For students interested in joining the eSports team, there are meetings every Friday at 6 p.m. in the Shepherd Union computer lab. The club can also be found on Facebook under Weber State Esports, and they will answer any questions regarding the club or eSports in general.

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