The days of video games being a niche pursuit are long gone. Online gaming, known as esports, is gaining huge levels of traction with millions of followers. With certain titles such as FIFA and Dota 2 even being included in major events like the Asian Games, it’s safe to say the esports industry is alive and here to stay.
New Jersey has become something of a hot spot for the scene in the last few years. With investment aplenty, the future looks bright for the sector. Read on as we discuss the state of esports in New Jersey.
The first significant step in transforming the state into an esports powerhouse was in 2020. Rutgers University opened a state-of-the-art Local Area Network (LAN) facility to provide a place for national competitions. Alongside this, STEM and esports education could also take place in a purpose-built hub for hands-on learning.
This was furthered during the pandemic when the New Jersey Economic Development Authority gave the go-ahead for Conference One, a collegiate sports league, to be headquartered in the state. With leagues and education attracting people to the area, more soon followed, including esports betting groups and a host of related fintech companies.
Who Are the Professional Gamers Leading This?
While professional esports players tend to be in their early twenties, most casual gamers are older. According to ExpressVPN, Millennials are the generation most likely to spend more time gaming, and this increases the older people get. Apparently, 9 percent of 36 to 45-year-olds spend more than 24 hours gaming every week, while only 3 percent of 16 to 25-year-olds do. The younger age group is also less likely to play games at night.
Gaming at night is unlikely to be promoted in pro gaming circuits, either. Part of this may be down to the education being provided, which often goes beyond simply playing games. Most professional training schedules for esports teams involve a healthy dose of physical and mental training away from the controller.
How Can You Get Involved?
One of the best ways to get involved is by contacting Garden State Esports. A non-profit organization, they are the first point of contact for educational esports programs. Run by New Jersey educators, it is primarily for New Jersey students and has managed to amass quite the community. Even mature players may be able to get pointed in the right direction by them towards teams and groups where they can play.
There are also plenty of forums and groups you can join on social media where you can get the contact details and gamer tags of those who play online. Visiting one of the tournaments is a great way to network and, with practice, you may even be competing in one soon yourself.
About the Author/s
Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.