The Ontario government has recently launched a program to make eSports available to all students in the province. The program, called “Open to the Public” (OTP), was launched in partnership with eSports organization Ontario United and aims to make eSports more accessible to fans and casual gamers in Ontario. The goal of the OTP program is to popularize and legitimize eSports in the province, as well as provide dedicated facilities for gamers.
What is eSports?
If you’re unfamiliar, eSports is an abbreviation for “electronic sports,” and is generally used to reference video games (especially multiplayer online battle arena or MOBA games), as well as certain other competitive video games. The term originally came about because of the close connection between video games and sports during the early 2000s, as more and more people in the mainstream learned to play video games and the casual games market grew, attracting a larger audience to play-based games. As a result, many gaming-related companies started popping up, and eSports was eventually used as an umbrella term to cover all competitive play in video games.
Why are the Ontario government and eSports organization Ontario United partnering to promote eSports in the province?
E-Sports is a fast-growing segment of the overall video game industry, and gaming as a whole is a global industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. In 2018, the industry was valued at over US$16.9 billion and is anticipated to hit over $23.9 billion by next year.
In the past, most people in the mainstream may not have been particularly interested in or aware of eSports. That is no longer the case, and many people are now actively involved in watching, playing, or investing in eSports.
With that in mind, the Ontario government has decided to promote eSports and make video games a part of everyday life, so it can be accessible to all Ontarians, no matter their interest. In addition, the government sees the benefit of promoting eSports as a driver for future economic growth, as well as a way to engage more youth in positive activities. Finally, the government has committed to supporting all students in the province, regardless of their background, with dedicated resources and facilities so they can have a positive experience and be more interactive with schoolwork.
What does this initiative entail?
Under the OTP program, qualified students in grades 7-12 can apply to attend dedicated eSports programs at their local high schools. The programs range from an individual esports coaching program for competitive gamers, to a team-based competition where students can work together to achieve victory. Furthermore, in order to increase accessibility and participation, many high schools have opened their doors to gamers and eSports enthusiasts, allowing for more competitive teams to form and participate in local, regional, and even national tournaments.
In addition, the Ontario government provides each participating student with a computer and internet access, as well as books and other necessary software to support their studies. Furthermore, to make sure students get the most out of their investment, the province also provides an optional educational coaching program for those who want to improve their game. Finally, the government also plans to establish several competitive eSports leagues throughout the school year, supporting student teams as they compete against each other and other schools for top spot.
While dedicated gaming facilities may not be a new concept, most schools didn’t necessarily have the appropriate equipment or software to support serious gaming. The OTP program changes all that, providing students with the tools they need to become successful and engage with schoolwork more effectively.
If you’re a parent looking for a way to engage your child in a positive, educational activity, consider signing them up for an esports team or coaching program today!
What is a ‘dedicated server’?
Dedicated servers are special internet-connected computers that are solely dedicated to hosting online games. Online gamers can connect to the server and play any game that is available on it. The advantage of using a dedicated server is that the game runs smoothly without any glitches, and since it’s only serving one or a few players, no other games can possibly interfere with the action.
Dedicated servers are also useful for large tournaments where hundreds of players are participating. Only a dedicated server can handle the load, ensuring that all players have an even chance of being able to play correctly and without any glitches.
Due to their specialized nature, dedicated servers are fairly costly to rent, but their cost is offset by the fact that they aren’t shared with any other users and can be more reliable than shared servers. They are also a safer option for online gaming, since they remove the possibility of hacking or cheating that could potentially disrupt the entire competition.
Why do I need a dedicated server?
Since most gaming activity occurs online, players need a reliable internet connection to enjoy their games. This is where dedicated servers come in, as they offer secure and stable internet access that is specifically designed for gaming. Other options include wireless access points or Wi-Fi hotspots, which can be easily accessed by anyone who has a Wi-Fi-enabled device, but the instability of wireless networks makes them less than ideal for gaming.
To put it simply, wireless networks behave erratically when heavily overloaded, which can lead to dropped connections and other errors that are completely disorienting and frustrating for the player. This is why dedicated servers are a better option for gamers.
If you’re interested in setting up a dedicated server at home to play your favorite games, check out what special offers are available from top hosting providers today!
How much does this cost?
Each OTP program will cost a total of $5,000 per year, including all equipment, internet access, and software. Furthermore, if a student wants additional coaching, they will have to pay for that separately.
However, these costs aren’t bad considering the benefits to the student. Not only do they get a dedicated computer to help them improve their performance and become more involved in class, but they also get the opportunity to meet other students with shared interests. In addition, any parent who is concerned about their child’s academic performance will also be able to observe and monitor their progress more easily through regular reports from the school.
The Ontario government and eSports organization Ontario United hope that by making eSports available to all students in the province, they can open the doors for many more potential participants and fans of video games, encouraging them to try out new things and become more involved in the community.