The Digital Schoolhouse powered by PlayStation National Esports Qualifiers are well underway, with two teams already reigning Regional Champions following this week’s competition with Blizzard’s Overwatch in Manchester and Staffordshire.
Our first Regional Qualifier, hosted by Manchester Belong at the Trafford Centre, welcomed visiting schools from the North of England, including teams from Manchester and Liverpool.
The day concluded with a nail-biting final and The Studio Liverpool and St John Fisher’s Voluntary Catholic Academy battling head-to-head. It was a close call, but in the end it was last year’s tournament winners, Team Veracity, who celebrated yet another victory, claiming the sort after title of Regional Champions 2018.
Alongside matches, the Belong by Game team also imparted their expertise in other esports disciplines such as shout casting and streaming, which gave student spectators an opportunity to be involved in the tournament, besides playing the game itself.
Following the first in our series of qualifiers, another five Schoolhouses took to Staffordshire University to compete for a place in The Grand Final at Gfinity’s arena in Fulham Broadway on Wednesday 11 April.
Staffordshire University also facilitated live TV interviews with participating students, and live streaming with a special appearance from Ramesh ‘r2k’ Singh, alumni for Team Dignitas. Not only did r2k and fellow caster, Stefan Killion, lend their shout casting expertise, but they also discussed careers opportunities in esports with aspiring students.
"The Digital Schoolhouse Esports initiative is a fantastic way to encourage students to represent their School in a way that I only dreamed about 10-15 years ago. To chat
the teachers and students of each school at the Staffordshire Qualifier gave me a lot of pride in what we are doing. It also gets students to use situational skills that will help them, not just in gaming but in real life." Ramesh 'r2k' Singh
"Digital Schoolhouse has been a fantastic insight into how esports is starting to grow even within schools and will continue to grow in my eyes. I wanted to help out the first time I received news of what DSH wanted to do and hopefully, I will be a part of future tournaments" says Stefan, Esports Coach and Caster.
Dr Bobbie Fletcher of Staffordshire University is also leading on research with the programme, to assess the impact of the esports tournament on students and their perception of careers opportunities in the UK video games industry. Bobbie explains:
"It’s been great meeting all the schools involved and speaking to the students about their experiences in the competition. It’s amazing to see how esports excites them. I’ve been impressed how they have demonstrated their skills in events management, casting and hosting. We look forward to seeing many of them on our esports degree in the future."
The final match of the day saw Shire Oak Academy and King Edward VI (KES) compete, with KES Battle Bards stealing the title of Regional Champions 2018. The winning team will go through to The Grand Final, joining Team Veracity and - the yet to be confirmed - Regional Champions of Bristol and Kingston.
James, Year 12 from KES states:
"It’s been a great day and I’ve enjoyed doing the casting and cheering on my team!"
Next week our third and final Regional Qualifiers will take place at Belong Bristol (Monday 6 March) and SOLD OUT Belong Kingston (Tuesday 7 March) to conclude the qualifier series.
You can still grab your FREE space at Belong Bristol to be part of this unique careers event.
You can also tune in to our Twitch channel on the 12th & 13th March to watch the play unfold.
Leo, Yr 9 from The Coleshill School states: "
It’s been a really good experience getting to commentate and a different way to learn - more than just playing the game."