A recently announced partnership between ESL and the University of York to aid in teaching and research, with the aim of developing the UK as an esports hub. However, at the other end of the spectrum, students from video gaming society FragSoc have announced an event of their own, the FragSoc CS:GO Invitational. For now, 4 teams have been announced, with teams from Lancaster, De Montfort and Derby Universities joining hosts York for the two-day event.
Beginning on 25th November, two 4 team groups will be played out simultaneously in the GSL format, with BO1s in the upper bracket and BO3s for elimination games to determine the top 2 sides from each group. Then on the 26th the semi-finals and final will be played out, all BO3, to decide the champion.
Events in the UK like NUEL Live and King of the North have seen LAN finals played in multiple games before, and Varsity events between Oxford and Cambridge or as part of the Roses competition between York and Lancaster are relatively commonplace, but this will be the first UK University event where a single tournament will span across multiple days. The invitational could be the beginning in the increased acceptance of esports by UK universities, whilst countries like Sweden and the US see some institutions offering esports scholarships to students.
I asked tournament organiser Jordan Reece about his hopes for the event, and how it might lead to more in the future:
“I'd like to see students be able to point their Student Unions to events like ours to prove the legitimacy of eSports and secure their funding. The more teams we get with the funding to travel, the more willing event organisers will be to put on these kinds of tournaments.”
Personally, as a student at York, I am excited about the event, but I too am hopeful that this can be the beginning of a growing LAN scene for UK University esports.
Do you want to watch UK CS? Comment below your thoughts on collegiate esports and the UK coming together!