For Carlos Madera, it started with Elmo’s alphabet video game.
It progressed with various systems and games and all led the senior business major to here.
He’s president of Regis University’s Video Game Club.
“I’m a try hard,” Madera said. “I like video games and this is one where I can try hard to be the best. You can see how much better you can get. We get to play some of the top teams and players from around the country. I mean, I never expected to play a team from Ontario, Canada.”
Welcome to the rapidly growing and fast-paced world of e-sports. It has become a billion dollar a year industry, with an estimated 215 million fans a year expected to watch an e-sports game. The 2016 League of Legends World Championship sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
It’s gained attraction from some of the world’s most successful businessmen, become big money and has spawned celebrity players like South Korea’s Faker.
“He’s like the Michael Jordan of e-sports,” Madera said.
“He’s better than Michael Jordan,” said Jon Weiss, vice president of the club and a senior English major. “He’s never lost.”
As the industry grows, college campuses are at the center. The Regis Video Game Club started several years ago, but saw a more calculated approach with events and more players joining a year ago when Madera took over.
The group consists of around 14 people around campus. The Regis team is participating in the Tespa Collegiate Series, where they play the game Overwatch — a team-based shooter game set in the future. Club members come from all academic programs across campus. They’re biology, physics, mathematics, business and English majors.
On a recent night, a team of six strategized, prepped and then each went to their respective rooms to hop on a computer. The game started and they communicated to each other via headsets.
“It’s like any other sport,” Madera said. “You have five other guys you have to work with to see how good you can get.”
It could also be profitable. In the Tespa series, each member of the winning tournament team will receive a $6,000 scholarship, with scholarship money awarded all the way down to eighth place.
The group hosts a couple events a year around campus with prizes. Although still in its infancy, the team wants to hold tryouts and practices in the coming semesters. For members of the Regis team, it’s another way to get together, blow off steam and find a commonality amongst friends.
“For me it is that sense of community,” Weiss said. “I come from a military family so I moved around a lot. The way I found a community was with video games.”
Regis University offers a plethora of student clubs on campus. Find friends and a community today.