The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The Growing World of Esports

Asha Rountree

Video games have been an ever-changing industry for the last two decades, piquing the interests of people with a love for simulations and adventures. The evolution of video games has made it so that earning money playing them is a common occurrence. With the evolution in video games also comes the increasing popularity of one of its specific branches, electronic sports, or Esports. 

Connor Stillwell is the CEO of The eSports Cave, which is located in Cedar Park, TX. He has been passionate about online games since he was a child, and chose to turn his hobby into a profession. 

“Well, I’ve been a passionate gamer since I was a kid, and that passion eventually led me to create ‘The Esports Cave’,” Stillwell said. “It was the thrill of competition and the rapidly growing Esports scene that inspired me to turn my hobby into a career by providing a space for others to enjoy Esports.” 

Involvement in the company, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly and is up to date can be a difficult task due to new trends constantly gaining popularity, according to Stillwell. With the ever-changing industry it’s never guaranteed that what’s in stock is what will sell.

“Staying up-to-date is crucial for us,” Stillwell said. “We follow game updates, industry trends, and engage with the gaming community to ensure we provide the latest and most exciting gaming experiences to our customers. While I’m not directly involved with a team, I aim to support and promote Esports culture in our community.”

Hans Goss, owner of the Valhalla Esports Lounge, located in downtown Austin, offers people a place to enjoy food, drinks, music, and games all at once. Combining various interests at once has led to a highly successful company, according to Goss, who said Valhalla Esports Lounge is the number one Esports lounge in Austin.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen continued growth in the Esports industry, with a surge in interest from investors and sponsors,” Goss said. “Additionally, mobile gaming and the emergence of new Esports titles have expanded the player base. This growth has heightened the competition and increased the overall professionalism of the industry, making it an exciting time for Esports.”

Something that Goss feels is important to the Esports community is providing a safe environment where players feel valued. He said that his encouragement and efforts to help everyone have a good time is a contributing factor to the success of his company.

“We’ve faced challenges coordinating large-scale tournaments, where different teams and players need to work together smoothly,” Goss said.“One particular situation involved addressing disagreements over rules. To resolve it, we brought in experienced referees, communicated clearly with all parties, and ensured that the rules were applied consistently. Open communication and a commitment to fairness helped us overcome these challenges.”

In Esports, it’s also important for players to be aware of their physical and mental health, as this can directly affect their performance, according to Goss. Although Esports don’t require the amount of exercise done in traditional sports, physical health is still prioritized in the community.  

“Balancing training and well-being is a priority,” Goss said. “We encourage healthy routines, like exercise and nutrition, and provide access to mental health resources. Our team also has dedicated rest days to prevent burnout and ensure they perform at their best during competitions.” 

Cody Hendrix is the co-founder of the Esports team Gamers First. He also emphasized the importance of his team maintaining their physical health in order to compete at their best in tournaments. 

“Player health is a top priority,” Hendrix said. “We have fitness and wellness programs, mental health support, and regular breaks to prevent burnout. It’s vital for players to strike a balance between practice and self-care to perform at their best.” 

Interaction within the Esports community has resulted in the sport increasing in popularity, according to Hendrix. Hendrix described how he made efforts to spread the value of Esports to video game fanatics.

“We’ve embraced content creation and broadcasting to connect with our fans,” Hendrix said. “Social media, streaming, and content collaborations are fantastic ways to engage our audience. We value their support and continually seek ways to interact with them.” 

Goss believes in the importance of forming a connection with supporters. He has a mission to help others understand the true value of Esports.

“Building a sense of camaraderie and creating a positive environment where players can grow and flourish is crucial for team success,” Goss said. “We believe in creating a sense of belonging and making Esports more than just a spectator sport.”

Sanwi Sarode & Charlotte Whalen contributed to this article.
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