Let the Esport Games Begin at SUNY New Paltz

SUNY New Paltz now offers an esports gaming league to keep students connected during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of SUNY New Paltz.

As the fall semester progresses, SUNY New Paltz students don’t have a large selection of extracurricular activities to choose from.  With this in mind, the school has partnered with IMleagues to ensure recreational activities in both a physical and virtual setting. 

The esports league within the IMleagues of New Paltz is in full activation until Oct. 9. Since the league is already in the middle of their season, students cannot submit their own team as of right now, although you can sign up to be a part of a different team from a student who has already made one. The first step to this process is by going to the website and signing up by using the following link.  

Athletic games such as FIFA, Madden, NBA 2k and NHL are offered on both the PS4 and XBOX1, as well as Rocket League, Super Smash Bros and Fortnite. Although the deadline to create a team was Sept. 11, students have until Oct. 9 to join any available teams. 

“Esports is definitely a strong entity. It started off not well-known, but it’s been exceptionally growing, from varsity athletics and club sports to professional gamers,” said SUNY New Paltz Assistant Wellness and Recreation Director Kevin Makarewicz. “It’s been a huge growing platform allowing for students to connect and get involved.”  

The growing number of esports across the world demonstrates why New Paltz staff was so successful in implementing esports within intramural games for students. According to data presented in a British Esports Association article, esports has blossomed into a powerhouse of gaming and revolutionized the competitive level of gamers around the world. 

Since 2016, esports has seen an increase in revenue and popularity across the globe. Specifically, in 2016 there was a 7% increase compared to their initial projection of how they would fare for that year. In 2015, there were 112 major esports events, an increase from the prior year.

‘‘We can always grow in size, word of mouth is the best,” Makarewicz said. “There are different styles of gamers. Some are doing it just for fun and then there are the super competitive players within the New Paltz community.” 

When promoting esports at New Paltz, Makarewicz uses social media to promote the events and maximize exposure, as well as teaming up with residence halls to promote the events on the television screens in the lobbies. 

When asked who exactly suggested bringing esports gaming to SUNY New Paltz, Makarewicz explained that it was a collective effort made by a number of people upon seeing the growing trend of schools around the country bringing it to their own athletic intramural leagues. When the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) colleges started using this esports league to attract new students to join intramural events, that was the key driving force behind New Paltz pursuing that endeavour within their own intramural league. 

For the future of esports in the SUNY New Paltz community, Makarewicz assured that there would be more opportunities this year to join in on the fun. 

“There will be a new style of games each semester, with different titles in tournaments as well,” Makarewicz said. “For example, we reached out to SUNYAC colleges to do a higher level tournament of our own top players against their top players, which will allow for more engagement within the schools.”

Going forward, the esports league looks to be a permanent part of the intramural league offerings at SUNY New Paltz. As more games become available and the increased trend of esports around the world continues to grow, it will allow for more interest within not just the SUNY New Paltz community, but all schools in the near future.