The world of esports is ever-growing, and its population right here on the Cal Poly campus is bigger than you’d expect. The Cal Poly Esports club has roughly 100 active members and is trying to expand its club, and find its place in the sports community within the university.
"If you want to spend more time getting really good at games, Cal Poly Esports is the place to be," Jacob Gold, a member of Cal Poly Esports who runs the social media accounts for the club, said.
Student-run, student-led; the Cal Poly Esports club doesn’t have a central location on campus for its members to compete, but Gold says it’s on the club’s agenda.
"It would be like a computer lab. There's not a lot of space on campus for new facilities or new buildings,” Gold said. “I would like to partially convert, or fully convert, an existing computer lab, but there are a lot of computer labs on campus to support an esports infrastructure.”
Gold wants to make that a reality before graduating from Cal Poly. He says there was a small push for some change on campus last year – a proposal was drafted – but it never caught any steam.
“I know that if I'm leading this project, I know there will be a change coming on in the campus climate, whether that be administration, or student-run push, because I'm very passionate about esports,” Gold said. “I love esports. I watch it all the time. I play games all the time. It's kind of like a substitute for traditional sports for me because I love watching it, experiencing it, going to live events, or watching at home. I think that with the right group of people, who are as passionate as me, we can definitely make some change on campus."
Esports for some isn’t just playing games, it’s a livelihood.
“For the collegiate side, there are a lot of schools that offer scholarships. Stuff like that attracts really good players that are really passionate about winning and competing,” Gold said. “A lot of them go on to be semi-professional or professional players. That leads into scouts for pro teams looking to the college teams that say, 'We'll give you a really nice salary if you come play for us.' That kind of system is really healthy."
Games like League of Legends and Dota 2 are popular worldwide, and students can be a part of clubs like those on campus as well.
"We have a lot of female club members that are very passionate about League of Legends,” Gold said. “Esports is a very open and kind of encouraging place to be. Your skill in the game is the only thing that matters. It doesn't matter who you are outside of it as much as how good you are inside of it."
Cal Poly students can find the club on Twitter (@calpolyesports) and Instagram (calpolyesports).