The University of New Orleans has launched eSports programming with the opening of a new on-campus eSports Café and plans for intramural, club and varsity teams in the future. The new facility, which features an array of PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, is located in the Recreation & Fitness Center and will serve as a hub for both recreational and competitive gamers.
“The growth of gaming has been explosive in recent years,” said Tim Duncan, vice president for athletics and recreation, who oversees the eSports program. “We know that our current students and future students want to play these games and some of them will want to do so in a competitive environment. That’s why we will be offering different levels of competition to suit their needs.
"The opening of the eSports Café is the first step as we grow our eSports program, and I’m looking forward to seeing it flourish,” Duncan said.
Through October 15, the eSports Café will offer a free trial period for current students and employees. Open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., participants will be able to play games via their Steam account—a cloud-based gaming library—or choose from a selection of favorites including League of Legends, Rocket League and NBA 2K.
Users can bring their own headphones or purchase them from the front desk of the Recreation & Fitness Center. Gamers will be asked to fill out a survey to provide feedback on their experience.
Following the free trial, users can reserve gaming consoles in the eSports Café by the hour, with monthly and semester-long passes available for purchase.
The University will start an intramural eSports league in October and plans to hire an eSports head coach during the fall semester to manage the club and varsity teams, according to Duncan.
“We hope to create a thriving community of gamers among our students, faculty and staff. And we’re excited for the UNO campus to host tournaments and serve as a gaming destination throughout the region,” Duncan said.