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New Mexico Tech growing gaming culture

Players in the New Mexico Tech eSports league meet as often as possible to prepare for matches against local teams and teams from around the nation. (El Defensor Chieftain)

Players in the New Mexico Tech eSports league meet as often as possible to prepare for matches against local teams and teams from around the nation. (El Defensor Chieftain)

SOCORRO – The New Mexico Tech Miners eSports league, currently in its second season, hosts a variety of options for both casual and serious gamers throughout the school year.

One of the fastest-growing sports, which includes a 14-year-old US Fortnite player winning $3,000,000 earlier this year, eSports is quickly becoming one of the most popular competitions around the globe.

Located on the top floor of the Gold building at the school, New Mexico Tech’s eSports room is a separate subnetwork of 13 custom-built computers, one of which is deemed the master and livestreams competitive gaming to the website www.twitch.tv. Every week, competitions for Rocket League, Rainbow Six, League of Legends, and Overwatch take place depending on student availability.

New Mexico Tech President Stephen Wells approached current eSports president Damien Banks, a junior studying mechanical engineering, with the idea of creating a league before the 2018-19 school year because of growing interest among students. The initial budget was $60,000.

“We try to organize times with other universities to figure out when and what our players can compete in and at what times,” Banks said. “This is possibly the largest club we have here at Tech, with more than 200 members and more than 40 competitive team contenders.”

The gaming network is not connected to the main Tech network and is available for students to use throughout the year. The 16GB custom PCs run off of military grade fiber optics. Logitec webcams and headsets are used with Razor brand keyboards, Acer monitors and iBUYPOWER mouses and computer systems. Ergonomic chairs from GTRACING are stationed at each gaming port, which helps to provide back support for gamers during longer stretches of play.

One of the main focuses of the school in creating this program was to provide an outlet for incoming students to create a social group while managing a rigorous academic schedule.

A large TV monitor and surround sound system is set up in the center of the room for visitors to watch livestreams of other competitive gamers and can also be used for games on an Xbox One. The group plans to expand into more console gaming with the addition of a Playstation 4 as well as a Nintendo Switch system.

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