MediaCityUK recently hosted an eSports event held by the BBC Academy, as part of their BBC Digital Cities 2020 event.

With the aim to increase participation of eSports, the event held talks which saw a panel of industry experts compare eSports to physical sports, both in terms of competitiveness and enjoyment.

The discussion was conducted by industry experts, lead by guest speaker: Maria Stukoff, co-chair of the eSports Industry Collaboration Programme. Alice Leaman, Schools and Colleges Liaison Officer at the British Esports Association, seeks to promote the eSports championships whilst also bringing attention to digital skills and its correlation to STEM learning in schools.

Salford lad, Jordan Eastwood, director of Noob Guides Limited, claims that “parents are the hardest boss. You can learn educational skills form eSports, it’s not just playing games.”

Comparing eSports to physical exercise he comments, “Remove competitiveness – similar to sport. You choose your game, just like you choose your sport.”

Andy Miah, Chair of Science Communication and Future Media at Salford university, expresses that he is inspired by the varied use of eSports among different sectors of industry and how he is “excited at the prospect of physical sports and eSports coming together in the future.”

The panel discussed these prospects with the concept realised by the partnership between British Cycling and Zwift, which brought us the British Cycling eRacing Championships, powered by Zwift in 2019.

Neil Charmichael, a representative for British Cycling, is inspired by his previous competing in mountain biking for team GB and his part in the eRacing championships.

Other activities at the event were focused heavily around virtual reality (VR) and the experience of a more physical approach in comparison to the traditional sit-down gaming setup.

Attendees were able to don the coveted Oculus Rift and try their luck on VR Beat Saber, a rhythm based game where players must use in-game light sabers to hit beats in carefully designed music tracks.

Alternatively, less intense gameplay was available where the headset is used to simulate travelling to the moon in a spacecraft or participants were able to explore the world of Minecraft whilst using the handheld controllers to both mine and craft respectively.

Image credit: Yasmin Tenk
Salford eSports Super Smash Bros tournament at Digital Cities 2020.

The Salford University eSports society were also in attendance at the event, competing against each other in a Super Smash Bros. tournament, representing Salford’s strong eSports community and showcasing their well tuned skills .

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