Video gaming league recruiting in New Castle
New Castle Recreation is dipping its toes into the rapidly expanding world of competitive video gaming with a summer program focused on popular sports games, the recreation department director said.
“A lot of the benefits have to do with camaraderie and community building,” said Hannah Bihr, New Castle’s recreation director. “But there’s also a strategic component to video gaming.”
Collectively known as Electronic Sports, or Esports, the competitive video gaming industry exploded in recent years. Business Insider reported in December the industry’s earnings are on track to be more than $1 billion in 2020.
Bihr said growing interest nationwide was a factor in starting the program, but ultimately, her team decided to move forward with the initiative because people can participate from home — a key selling point during the pandemic.
“This was us thinking outside the box about ways to engage the community during these difficult times,” she explained.
The program will be facilitated by the Mission Control app, which participants need to download at http://www.missioncontrol.gg/play and register with New Castle Recreation in order to play. Registration fees are $10 per person.
“Mission Control is an app used by schools, rec centers and other entities across the nation to help organize these play events,” Bihr explained.
New Castle Recreation invested $600 into its Esports program, which mostly went toward Mission Control fees, she said.
To participate, people will need their own gaming console or PC, an internet connection and access to one of the games being hosted. Bihr said participants can play on Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch or PC.
Six nights of the week, excluding Sundays, New Castle Recreation will host a single game and participants playing on the same console will be paired in a “non-competitive and friendly gaming environment,” she said.
Leagues will consist of players interested in the same game with the same consoles.
Championship prizes have not yet been determined, but will be awarded to each league’s top player in mid-July.
The registration deadline is set for today, but Bihr said interested parties who missed the deadline could contact New Castle Recreation at 970-984-3352 to check if any slots were available.
New Castle’s Esports’ games are slated to include:
Rocket League players will be able to compete across platforms, because the game’s servers support cross-play.
Initially, participants will only play against each other, but Bihr said she hopes the program expands enough for New Castle Recreation’s teams to challenge other recreation departments’ teams in the future.
“We definitely feel like this is something that is up and coming,” Bihr said. “And, we’d like to explore it in the future.”
Visit http://www.newcastlerec.com for more information and a full Esports schedule.
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