Gamers, rise up. A new esports room in the LSU UREC is now open to all full-time students.

As esports and gaming in general continue to grow in popularity, UREC officials decided to utilize some empty space and create a gaming lounge full of all the equipment one could need to virtually suit up. Whether you prefer using a console or PC, the UREC has you covered with one room dedicated to consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and another reserved for gaming computers.

UREC Programs and Outreach Associate Director Jerrod Jackson said he and his colleagues started planning for the Esports room since the fall of 2018 after realizing they had an empty space ripe for potential new uses.

"We know that esports is a blooming and budding phenomenon across the country and we know it's something people play recreationally," Jackson said. "We wanted to make sure we had it here at the UREC for all the students to be able to use as well."

Competitive gaming has been around in some format since Stanford University held the first official arcade tournament for "Spacewar" in 1972, according to britishesports.org.  As gaming technology improved and shooters became the norm, competitive tournaments gained popularity until they eventually morphed into the heavily-streamed worldwide competitions that exist today for games like "Fortnite" and "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive."

Fans of the latter game may be disappointed however, as the Esports room currently only allows games rated Teen or below to be installed and played in the lounge. This policy will keep violent games like "Mortal Kombat 11," "Call of Duty," "Battlefield V" and others out of the UREC for now, but Sport and Camp Programs Assistant Director Chris Morriss said the policy could be reevaluated.

"We'd have to see a large demand for it and then we can approach the conversation again, but as of right now that's where we've set it at," Morriss said.

Gamers need not worry about a supply of non-M rated games though, as the UREC already has a list of pre-approved games installed on the consoles and computers, including popular titles like "Madden," "FIFA," and "Fortnite." Students can also fill out a request form for a game the room does not already have.

The Esports room may be brand new, but the UREC is already planning several tournaments in the upcoming months. First is a "Madden" tournament in mid-September, followed by "FIFA' in October. Morriss said he plans to hold a tournament at least once a month.

One notable absence from the Esports Room is the lack of any Nintendo gaming hardware, which means no mustachioed-plumbers while you are in the Esports room. Jackson said they have received several inquiries about acquiring a Nintendo Switch, the company's newest console, and are evaluating those requests.

Morriss and Jackson both reiterated that any full-time student can use the new facility and that it's not just for the Esports club on campus.

"We want anybody to drop in here and use it at any point," Morriss said. "Even if it's just a quick game of "FIFA" or an hour-and-a-half long session of "Fortnite.""

Load comments