EIU opens eSports arena

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CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — eSports is a huge demand in universities. To fill that need, Eastern Illinois University opened an eSports arena. School leaders say this will help with recruitment. Students will even be eligible for eSports scholarships.

The arena is in an old classroom in the Student Recreation Center. School leaders say bringing students together while they game also promotes community. Most people are sitting alone in their dorm rooms when they’re gaming, but a room like this will help build relationships.

“Students today, like, need as much facilitation as possible with the face to face interaction because there are so many avenues to avoid that, and that’s important in the workplace, and that’s important from an academic standpoint. We’ve got to be able to relate face to face as human beings,” said Associate Vice President for Enrollment Engagement Josh Norman.

There are 12 spots for students to play. It includes an Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. Altogether, the equipment cost $60,000, but school leaders believe that’s a steal.

That space is open for all students to use. It’s not just for people who are part of a club.

Only two other schools in the state have eSports arenas right now. Those are Northern Illinois University and SIU-Carbondale. SIU-Edwardsville and Illinois State University are also in the process of getting them.

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