KPU looks to attract more students to esports events following spring tournaments

Gamers of all abilities are invited to participate in future events

KPU student gamers of all abilities are encouraged to participant in esports events. (File photo)

KPU Sports & Recreation is hosting esports tournaments for students and employees. (File photo)

A number of students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University are looking to get their game on virtually. Since the summer semester last year, KPU Sport & Recreation has hosted esports events for students, faculty, and staff to participate in.

In these events, which usually take place throughout the evening, participants play against each other in tournament brackets, sometimes competing for prizes. 

There are more events planned, including a Mario Kart Tour Mobile tournament on March 25 that KPU students can still register to compete in. A GYOScore account is required to confirm entry into events.

Sport & Recreation program coordinator Orion Ng says the esports program started as a way “… to explore a different way for students in the KPU community to just have some social connection.”

As for the other games being played, he says they have offered Rocket League and Fortnite events multiple times in the past, including competitive tournaments hosted in February. He adds that FIFA has also been played in the past, and KPU could host team games in the future.

Ng says that when considering what to look for when choosing possible games to host, staff look for games that can be played across many devices and that the program is open to suggestions from students.

“Obviously, we still are in the middle of the pandemic, but it’s just a different kind of variation for people to stay connected, stay social in a different kind of untraditional sports setting,” Ng says.

Ng says that Fitness & Wellness coordinator Jonathan Webster also contributed to the idea of holding esports events at KPU and says the program has plans in the future to attract more potential players.

Depending on how things go, KPU might even join a competitive organization like the Canadian Collegiate Esports League. Ng says they are working on including more students in events.

The CCEL is an organization that hosts events for people of varying skills in video games that are connected to participating post-secondary institutions. A couple of participating institutions include the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University, both located in British Columbia. 

“It is something KPU right now is just listening in on,” Ng says.

“I think for us, we just want to kind of get KPU established first … get some more numbers and get more people realizing we offer esports.”

Right now, Sport & Recreation is looking to reach more people at KPU to participate in and attend these events. 

Ng says they are looking into hosting more tournaments that will feature mobile games since many students use their phones as a gaming device.

Once COVID-19 event restrictions relax on campus, Ng says that Sport & Recreation may also host some events in-person at KPU. The program also hosts events for less competitive games like Jackbox Party as a way for students to socialize during the pandemic.

“[It has] been nice to just connect people who may not realize that their classmates are also into esports,” he says.