Five high schools will send their best e-sport, or competitive video game, players to the first-ever bilingual Super Smash Brothers Tournament at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The digital show-down kicks off on Feb.29 where e-sport teams from the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, Newtown High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, Media and Communication High School in Manhattan and Maspeth High School will fight each other to the virtual death in the multiplayer Nintendo game.
Family, friends and fellow gamers can join in the action since the UBEAT Super Smash Bro. Ultimate Tournament will live-streamed on UBEAT.TV, a Spanish-language e-sports competition website. One player has the chance to win a $2,000 cash prize and the winning team will face-off with champions of the Chicago tournament in May.
E-sport clubs and teams have been popping up in high schools and colleges across the country and the audience for video-game competitions is growing.
Last year, USA Today reported video game competitions drew 258 million unique viewers across the globe and the research firm SuperData predicts that the e-sports industry will make $2 billion in revenue by next year.
“The e-sports industry is booming,” said Michael D. Nieves, CEO of HITN, co-sponsor of the tournament.” In the last decade, we’ve seen e-sports grow from streamed underground events to worldwide, televised programs.”
E-sports growing popularity and recognition in schools is positive advocates say. Scott Beiter, a science teacher and gaming esports club advisor in the Rensselear City District believes that the inclusion e-sports in schools will help improve students’ grades, spark interest in math and science, improve problem-solving skills and develop communication skills.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding..even among my good friends they will say ‘oh that’s just twitching, it’s not real competition’,” said Beiter. “But you know, you wouldn’t talk negatively about a chess team. No, you are not doing a big physical feat but the mental acuity that is needed for these games takes a lot of practice.”