The Georgia Game Developers Association (GGDA) recently announced creation of the Georgia Esports League, allowing varsity college teams around the state to compete for internships at video game studios as well as scholarships. Open to public universities, technical school and private colleges, the League hosts tournaments around Georgia in addition to a state championship.
“Esports have become the fastest-growing form of competition, and video games are turning into the most popular sports of the 21st century,” said Andrew Greenberg, executive director of the GGDA. “Schools know that the desire to make games is what drives many students to want to learn about technology in the first place. An esports team helps them attract even more good students.”
Numerous colleges and universities around the world have added esports programs. Some of the better known include the University of California, the University of Utah, and Southwestern University. Students at these schools can earn scholarships and compete in intercollegiate tournaments.
“Professional esports competitions have prizes in the millions of dollars,” said Greenberg. “The amount of money being invested in the pro teams is astronomical, and we believe college students should have similar opportunities. This league is the first to offer internships as well as scholarships.”
The Georgia Esports League starts in August with preseason matchups before its regional tournaments in September. The state finals are scheduled for October, following the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (www.siegecon.net). Players compete in popular games like Paladins and Brawlhalla, both made by Georgia companies.
“Georgia has become both a technology and entertainment hub,” said Greenberg. “We already have some of the most popular professional esports events with the world championships for Hi-Rez Studio’s game ‘SMITE’ and Blue Mammoth’s ‘Brawlhalla,’ as well as Turners’ Eleague.”
The Georgia Game Developers Association is the non-profit trade association for the video game industry in the state of Georgia. It supports its members with business opportunities, educational services, professional development and public affairs coordination. It also puts on the Southern Interactive Entertainment and Game Expo (www.siegecon.net), the largest professional game development conference in the South. SIEGE boasts a college fair, an investment conference, and three days of panels and networking events in interactive entertainment.
Greenberg, best known for designing computer games and roleplaying games like Mall Tycoon and Fading Suns, also serves on the boards of the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Commission; the Decide DeKalb Development Authority; the Atlanta Regional Commission Workforce Development board; and other professional and corporate organizations.