“You have students who are playing the game — those who are competing — but behind those people there are a lot of jobs, most of which are in STEM,” says Chris Aviles, a STEM teacher and esports coach at Monmouth Beach School District. “They may be software developers or website developers. They might be shoutcasters, streamers, journalists, graphic designers, videographers or fandom art creators.”
With content creators participating in esports, already the program has more depth and professionalism. These students play a pivotal role in supporting the team. They set the tone for the tournaments and matches, and they help make their team’s success known to others in the district or community.
“There are people who write scripts for the opening, figuring out the language and the messaging involved in setting up the stories of you and your opponents,” says AJ Dimick, director of operations for the University of Utah’s esports program. “There are virtual camera. operators, quality control people, audio engineers — it’s all the roles in content creation that you’d see prevalent in mainstream sports.”
And much like mainstream sports, there are scholarships, internships and careers for these esports content creators as well. “Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is educate our students and create opportunities for curriculum pathways and career pathways,” says Gerald Solomon, founder and executive director of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF).
What Technology Supports an Advanced Esports Program?
It’s possible to stand up an esports team with just a few robust gaming PCs — but that’s the bare minimum in technology needed. For schools looking to build a comprehensive program, an investment in the appropriate tech can help bring content creator roles to life.
“Ideally, they’ll want desktop computers for the players and for the supporting people,” Aviles says. “You may need graphic design software, video editing tools, and streaming and broadcasting applications. You need cameras and microphones and video capture tools.”
These technologies may be overlooked in the initial creation of an esports program, but they’re necessary for an advanced team. Without this technology, content creators can’t perform their roles or support the athletes. They, too, need equipment on which to learn and practice.