Wichita eSports graduates from Wichita State
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Amongst an amalgamation of bright colors, two teams clashed on their computer screens over a competitive game of Overwatch.
Wichita State Junior Jason Bergkamp saw everything from a screen broadcasting the game. The individual decision-making and teamwork of the players sitting at their computers was visible to any onlooker.
Bergkamp, the designated “shoutcaster” of the match, yelled and commented on the action in order to make the intensity of the game evident to spectators.
Bergkamp said his time shoutcasting for the XPO Tulsa Game Festival was his favorite experience during the two years that he’s been part of Wichita eSports.
“It became very much me being myself (while shoutcasting),” Bergkamp said. “I think I lost my voice at some point from screaming.”
Growing up, Bergkamp said his favorite part of the year was going to QuakeCon in Texas, a gaming festival thousands of people attend, according to their website.
“I want to do something like that here,” Bergkamp said. “I want to someday be as big as QuakeCon, but in the midwest.”
Bergkamp has been part of Wichita eSports since it started as a Registered Student Organization two years ago.
He is now the president of Shocker eSports, a provisional athletics team on campus, and head of community relations for Wichita eSports, which is now a business and no longer an organization at WSU.
Wichita eSports became a business in March 2016, which, according to alumnus Ramsey Jamous, was a busy year.
Jamoul, CEO of Wichita eSports, said he took part in six events in 2016. Two large-scale events were hosted by Wichita eSports and the business either hosted game rooms, held tournaments, or advertised at four other events in Wichita and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
According to Jamoul, Wichita eSports also recently acquired a partnership with Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon and a streaming platform for mostly video games. Of the 140 million streamers on Twitch, only about 20,000 are partners, according to Jamoul.
“I would definitely say we’ve shown growth in revenue,” Jamoul said. “We’ve really figured out how to turn our product into a viable business.”
Jamoul said Wichita eSports essentially advertises for the sponsors of their events by showcasing their products.
“We really want to mimic what the NFL has done (with super bowl commercials),” Jamoul said.
Jamoul said the goal is to host events in Kansas City, Dallas and Chicago and eventually form a circuit of regular events throughout the Midwest. The events will be just like the convention Wichita eSports is preparing for this weekend in the Experiential Engineering Building, where Ramsey said he hopes 1000 people will end up signing up for the various gaming tournaments being held.
Bergkamp said he hopes to one day host a major convention in Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita.
Shocker eSports, which consists of some of the people from Wichita eSports, has also been growing in the Midwest junior Jackson Wolf said.
Wolf is the captain of the CS:GO team as a part of Shocker eSports. CS:GO or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a first-person shooter video game that consists of two teams of five people.
Since Wichita LAN held a CS:GO tournament in August 2015 the Midwest player base has grown from 50 to 500, Wolf said.
“The scene has been connected since that first event,” Wolf said. “Normally CS teams aren’t local; it definitely brought more of a social aspect to it.”
Jamoul said he hopes that gamers are able to connect with the social aspect of gaming through conventions and finding people with similar interests in eSports.
Bergkamp said he thinks the key to winning on a team is teamwork. He said Wichita eSports follows a similar philosophy.
“We help each other out immensely,” Bergkamp said. “It’s all about cooperation. It’s all about doing what you love.”