This Article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.
Generation Esports, an organization that specializes in tournament organization and fostering young minds into gaining a love for esports, recently raised $10.8 million in USD as a result of their Series A Round taking place in Kansas City, Missouri. This large investment comes courtesy of various partnerships. One of the most prominent in this investment is Altos Ventures which specializes in investments towards many early-stage technology companies and is based in the Bay area. Other investors include FJ Labs.
With this fund, Generation Esports plans to use the money to finance many of their community and student esports programs. One of their programs to be impacted by this is High School Esports League (HSEL) which dedicates itself to being an outlet for high school students interested in competitive esports and is prominent in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. The money will also go to support the Middle School Esports League as well. According to the CEO and co-founder of Generation Esports Mason Mullenioux in a press release, the additional resources will be used to support over 140,000 students by expanding the respective middle school and high school scholastic programs.
Altos Ventures representative Dillon Krasnigor commented on the importance of the investment by helping Generation Esports build a global platform where anyone from young students to adults can come participate and potentially compete in online gameplay. Krasnigor also comments on the organization’s strive to impact the esports industry in a positive way and demonstrate the educational benefits of competitive video games.
Speaking of the educational benefits, Generation Esports also offers STEM accredited programs. There is much debate about the benefits and dangers of video games such as in cases of addiction but those are stated to be extremely rare. However, it has been shown that there are some connections between video games and STEM learning. For example, it can foster certain abilities in students such as teamwork for problem-solving in cooperative settings, the scientific methodology by working to figure out a game, using data and evidence in a variety of ways, learning to use equipment other than controllers like film players and video/sound equipment, and inclusion on many social levels. For more information about the link between esports and STEM learning, check out this article by Forbes.
The esports industry has been impacted in many ways by the pandemic including the halting of all physical events, but online competitions still continue to prosper thanks to organizations such as Generation Esports. Within the second half of 2021, they plan to continue to further support a large variety of players. Not only does Generation Esports cater to students but also to military, corporate, adult recreation, and college settings as well. In fact, some of their other supporters include the Army National Guard and companies such as ASUS, Intel, Ubisoft, and many others.
By focusing a majority of the investments into their middle and high school programs, Generation Esports is creating a pipeline for many students in the minor league divisions that will eventually lead to many college and professional leagues. From a collegiate standpoint, this is basically fostering the younger generation into having a growing interest in the esports field. This would lead not just to playing competitively in the future but will also place a seed of interest into other aspects of the esports industry such as job opportunities and non-profit support.
Generation Esports has big plans for funding, and it will not only impact the industry in the future but also help it expand and reach new audiences. It can be said that the world is no longer plagued by the jock and nerd stereotypes that divide many students as a large majority of people, especially in the younger generation, are playing and enjoying video games. The esports leagues act as an equal opportunity for people to feel included. Generation Esports currently has 59 employees but has raised over $11 million in funding. Much of this goes to helping schools establish their own esports programs and some of those are on par with many varsity programs across the country. This is an organization that encourages engagement through esports and continues to do so through the use of their tournaments and programs. One of their ongoing tournaments is the 2021 HSEL Spring Major taking place between March 1 to May 22. For more information about Generation Esports and a good way to support the esports industry, check out their official website.