At IGEC 2018, Mark “Garvey” Candella from Twitch hosted a panel on “The Global Reach of College / University Esports”. While the Western world may be familiar with organizations such as TESPA, CSL, and NACE, collegiate esports has been expanding in Europe and South America.
In Europe, University Esports Masters gathers hundreds of universities from 11 different countries to compete in League of Legends. Per Garvey, Portugal has won three years in a row and their team is at LCS-level.
In South America, TUES is responsible for running collegiate esports events for Hearthstone, Clash Royale, FIFA, CS:GO, and League of Legends in Brazil. They have also recently included Columbia and Peru.
Another reason for growth is due to the rise of mobile gaming. As previously noted, Clash Royale is already being played in Brazil through TUES. In North America, Tencent is making a push for Arena of Valor. In parts of the country where high-end gaming PC's aren't a common purchase, mobile devices and the games that run on them, by default, have a higher potential audience.
And then, there is cross-platform games that already plan on taking full advantage of both audiences. Fortnite is the prime example, as the game's accessibility and surge in popularity have grown and unison. It also stands to reason that PC Fortnight aficionados who would never normally play mobile games are also being introduced to the platform as a serious way to game.
Ultimately, there are some problems that come with the rapid growth of collegiate esports. Because of its expansion, the community can be fractured in that there are too many organizations to consult. If you want to run a League of Legends tournament with multiple colleges, you may find yourself needing to consult more organizations if you add different games or include colleges that are outside of that organization’s network.
It also gets more confusing if the organization keeps changing leadership. According to Garvey, running collegiate esports events in Australia is currently difficult since there is no firm infrastructure in place.
Picking up a second language for collegiate esports
During the panel, Garvey stated it would be wise to pick up a second language in order to follow the rise of global collegiate esports. When asked which languages were the most optimal, his answer was French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Considering the success of Portugal’s team in UEMasters and the massive size of TUES, Portuguese appears to be the most attractive option.
Curiously, Mandarin Chinese was not included. Garvey could not give too much reason as to why, but perhaps it’s what isn’t spoken that gives us some clues. Tencent handles collegiate esports events in China, in which they don’t need support from Twitch.
In the end, Garvey was insistent that learning any foreign language would be beneficial, as he noted the growth of collegiate esports beyond Europe and South America, such as with Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
So while Portuguese might get you more mileage, it’s best to stick with what you personally want since the expansion of collegiate esports is rapid enough to reach your language of choice.