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Oct 11, 2016 07:18 AM EDT

UC Irvine Lets Students Play Video Games For Scholarships

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University of California - Irvine (UCI) has recently unveiled its newest eSports arena. It comes an interesting scholarship program that is good news for gamers.

Business Insider reported that UCI is recruiting students for partial scholarships that are dedicated to video gaming. Mark Deppe, acting director of UCI eSports, has deemed the school as a "Mecca for gamers."

Deppe is the brains behind the transformation of the former campus pool hall into a high-tech gaming arena, which opened on Sep. 23. The arena will be used to host regular student gamers as well as the university's 10-player team which will compete in high-stake tournaments.

The UCI eSports arena is found in the school's student center. This is the same building where the food court, campus book store and conference rooms, among others, are located. It is equipped with 70 high-end gaming computers and comfortable chairs from Vertagear.

According to the school's official website, the arena is expected to be a stage for "League of Legends" competitions. A live webcasting studio will be built at the student center. Moreover, UCI will be giving away as many as 10 academic scholarships for students on the eSports team.

"UCI eSports will be built on four pillars: competition, academics, entertainment and community," Thomas Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs, said. "We hope to attract the best gamers from around the world, and our academic programs in computer gaming science, digital arts, computer science, engineering, anthropology, law, medicine, neuroscience and behavior create a strong foundation for research and inquiry related to gaming."

The publication noted that the school is a home to a dedicated gaming community. In a survey, it was found that 72 percent of UCI students identify as gamers while 80 percent are in favor of the creation of an eSports team. Furthermore, the school was ranked as the top school for gamers last year.

"It has been a dream for many of us on campus that UCI recognize the importance of e-sports and create a space and a program that cater to the large community of gamers at the university," Jesse Wang, president of The Association of Gamers, said. "The eSports team and the arena will ensure that UCI continues to be a leader and trendsetter in collegiate e-sports."

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