Esports summit explores opportunities in growing industry


Kenyon Edmond

David Koruna, the president of Illini Esports, completes administrative work in Courtyard Cafe on Oct. 23.

The University is held a research summit to explore making e-sports a varsity sport on campus. The summit was on Friday in the Deloitte Auditorium in the Business Instructional Facility.

The Gies College of Business and the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning collaborated to hold the Illinois Esports Summit, which highlighted educational and research opportunities in esports.

The summit included research focused panels, discussions on the growing business of esports and interactive displays for attendees.

Jeffrey Brown, dean of Gies, made opening remarks at the event. He highlighted the University’s role in esports technology development, such as the PLATO computer system hosting some of the first multiplayer video games, Brown said in an email.

“It is expected that esports will become a billion dollar industry by the end of 2019, so I believe it is important that we understand it as an industry as well as a form of entertainment,” Brown said.

David Koruna, president of Illini Esports, the official esports and video game organization at the University, said this summit is a good way to raise awareness of esports on campus and the many research opportunities it holds.

“Currently, the University does not offer any sort of opportunities for esports besides our organization,” Koruna said. “I feel that there is an abundance of research opportunities, whether it involves analyzing in-game data, studying the culture that has developed around gaming or even looking at the mental aspects of competing.”

Koruna said he hopes this summit will begin a conversation between students and faculty about different opportunities for collaboration for the future.

Nick Rogers, associate athletic director, and Tyler Schrodt, CEO of the Electronic Gaming Federation, spoke about the possibility of making esports a varsity sport on the University’s campus.

“Esports should be integrated within the University because each year I am seeing more and more people show interest in being a part of our organization,” Koruna said.

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