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Video games at school: AIA adds eSports as official activity in 2019

Posted at 10:40 PM, Aug 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-23 13:01:23-04

Robotics, theater and...eSports?

The Arizona Interscholastic Association has announced it is adding eSports -- that is, the team-based competitive playing of video games -- as an official school activity starting in February 2019.

One new Valley business is already looking to help high school students up their game.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Vidra has been gaming as long as he can remember and he is excited for the next wave of potential eSports pros.

"I wish that stuff was around when I was in high school," said Vidra. "I'm sad that it's just now starting to become a thing because I was pretty good at League of Legends back in the day."

Starting early next year students can compete for titles in League of Legends and Rocket League, two of the most popular games on the market. The change comes as Arizona is seeing a surge in eSports, with Talking Stick Resort and the Fiesta Bowl hosting major tournaments within just the last year.

Pure Esports Owner Daniel Artt signed off from the corporate world hoping to help gamers of all ages connect and hone their skills.

"We want to bring competitive eSports to the community," Artt said. "Get coached, learn from each other, learn from their mistakes and get better at their game."

With collegiate scholarships and millions of dollars in prize money now up for grabs, Artt says he is committed to helping Valley high schools power up a competitive gaming culture.

"One school for example, Apache Trail, we're welcoming their eSports team to utilize us as a venue, to do their scrimmages, their practices, to even do some competitions as well," said Artt.

Prices at Pure Esports start at $7 an hour. It's hosting its first tournament the weekend of August 25 and had to stop registration because it filled up so fast.