Published Oct 12, 2020
Multiple Grads Find Work in the Esports Industry Amid COVID-19
Grads have secured full-time roles and internships with organizations like Evil Geniuses, Esports Tower, and West Virginia Wesleyan College's esports program.
"Countless people have benefited from video games during the pandemic because of the connectivity to others," says Game Design graduate and seasoned esports professional Rob Walker.
Rob recently secured a role as Director of Operations with Florida's premier developmental esports club, Esports Tower. He says he finds esports' current state reminiscent of its grassroots origins.
"Esports organizations developed from LAN competitions in the early 2000s, and employees were essentially all virtual at that point," he says. "I believe that the virtual model works well for most organizations and roles in the industry because esports is not a 9-to-5 job. It's a 24/7, on-and-off, always ready to move, work environment."
Esports Tower not only added Rob to the team, but has brought on three other grads for roles in social media management, graphic design, and coaching. In a commitment to keeping the team safe, Rob has yet to actually meet any of his coworkers in person.
"To this day I still haven't met anyone from the company in person because the company has been virtual since the beginning," says Rob.
Rob and his Esports Tower colleagues aren't the only grads benefiting from the unique role esports plays in entertainment in the time of coronavirus.
Multiple graduates from the Media Communications program have joined the team at Seattle-based esports organization Evil Geniuses in internship roles for content creation. Julianna DeSimone – one of the recent grads selected for the newly launched internship program – is happy for the chance to work in her desired industry. "There are no words to describe how blessed I am to be working with Evil Geniuses," she says. "[They've] done everything they can to support me in my remote position."
Game Design grad and former Full Sail Armada Vice President Ethan Hayes has also found full-time work in esports during the pandemic. Recently hired by West Virginia Wesleyan College to run its collegiate esports program as Head Coach, Ethan feels good about how esports has been able to keep itself moving in uncertain times.
"Coronavirus has given esports a little bit of legitimacy," he says. "[Entertainment has] switched completely to an esports environment, even how Twitch streaming and broadcasting has become the new way to experience events."