The first public university esports program
UCI was the first public university to create an official esports program and is regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world.
UCI was the first public university to create an official esports program, which is regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world. With a successful computer game science major, an enthusiastic gaming community and a history of elite competition, UCI was a natural place for esports to thrive.
A starring role on ESPN
In May 2019, UCI Esports was the focus of a four-part documentary series, with the first three premiering on ESPN2. “Good Game: UC Irvine” followed UCI’s varsity esports team members in the lead-up to the defense of their national title in the 2019 League of Legends College Championship. During the filming of the ESPN2 docuseries, film crews accompanied Anteater video gamers through their normal campus activities of studying, practicing and working with UCI Esports support staff in preparation for the tough competitions ahead. They even followed players into their dorms and families’ homes.
“We opened the door to the ESPN2 producers to provide a complete, unvarnished view of the lives of elite-level collegiate gamers,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “We are excited for the world to see what it’s like to be part of one of the world’s leading college esports programs.”
UCI Esports pillars
Competition: We recruit the best gamers in the world to compete for our teams in the top collegiate leagues in North America. We offer scholarships to players for both “League of Legends” and “Overwatch.” We also support our student club teams with access to the arena, jerseys and travel expenses. Our teams redefine what it means to be an elite gamer by instilling the values of appreciation for diversity, healthy living, academic success and life balance.
UCI esports received a $50,000 endowment from Twitch streamer Imane Anys, known online as Pokimane, to fund an annual scholarship for student gamers.
Academics and research: UCI is at the forefront of game-related education and research. One of the most successful studies in the arena was a neuroscience study involving “Minecraft” that demonstrated that 3D immersive games can improve memory. We also funded 12 research projects related to video games through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. In May 2017, we hosted our first academic symposium, bringing together some of the top academics from around the country to discuss the world of esports.
Community: UCI is home to some of the biggest gaming clubs in the nation and has a very strong community. A 2018 survey indicated that 77 percent of undergraduates identified themselves as gamers. The Association of Gamers – UCI’s largest club – supports casual and competitive play and connects people who love to play games.
Entertainment: The UCI Esports Arena, powered by iBUYPOWER, presents opportunities for gamers to learn about the world of esports media. With our shoutcasting station and streaming program, UCI students can create original content and shoutcast live events. They’re able to develop the skills necessary to pursue careers in fields such as video production, streaming and hosting. We also offer regular tournaments and events for local competitive and recreational gamers.
Careers: We connect students to companies and jobs in the gaming and esports industries. We host networking nights and career discussions and seek out internship and job opportunities for our students. We are exploring ways to help esports competitors, both collegiate and professional, translate their unique skill sets to future careers.
To learn more visit the UCI Esports website.