eSports room at Humber North

An exciting endeavor from the School of Media Studies & Information Technology lies in the basement of L building at Humber’s North campus

A new competitive gaming training room was unveiled in mid-November, to the delight of Humber’s gaming community. The room contains ergonomic chairs, soundproof walls, and high performance software on powerful computers. The space is home to Humber’s varsity eSports teams.

Each student-led gaming team, comprised of five to six players and a team of coaches and analysts, use the training space for practice and competitive tournaments. Teams must complete an application outlining the goals for their team before they can use the space. The room is currently training grounds for four teams: Overwatch, League of Legends, Call of Duty: Black OPS 4, and Super Smash Bros. More teams are expected to join the roster.

“This is the beginning of a full initiative,” explains Geoffrey Lachapelle, Humber’s eSports coordinator and a game programming lecturer. “This is a major industry that most groups are just waking up to. It’s our goal to be the people on the front end who are adapting to and fostering this industry.”

Many postsecondary institutions have student-led gaming initiatives like cash tournaments, but Humber eSports is not an after-school hobby. “We’re preparing players to play at a varsity level,” Lachapelle says. “We’re creating a culture where we foster competition in this new industry, and teach people how to capitalize in that new industry, professionally.”

“We want to make sure competitive gaming is something more people have the opportunity to do,” says Kris Alexander, a professor of video games, design, programming, and eSports infrastructure. Students in the Radio Broadcasting program could soon join teams in the studio to handle live broadcasting, just like traditional sports commentators.

The space may be new, but the faculty and staff involved in the initiative are optimistic for Humber’s competitive gaming teams in 2019. Alexander says they’ll work to keep advancing players’ skills and develop better classroom integration, creating more opportunities for students to complete coursework through the gaming framework.

And, of course, they’ll keep playing competitively. Performances have already surpassed expectations.

“I think we have a team that can win a major collegiate tournament,” Alexander says with a grin.