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Special thanks to our 2019 esports supporters Blizzard Entertainment, SEGA, Belong and more

Author: Laura.Martin

The national Overwatch Digital Schoolhouse Esports Tournament is now in its third year of play and since 2017 we’ve seen the competition undergo a huge transformation - not only through volume of participants, but its strengthening impact in careers education.

As a not-for-profit, our continued industry support enables us to reach a far greater number of students than we would be able to alone. In last year’s tournament, Digital Schoolhouse (DSH) reached a total of 2222 students, including both players and those who fulfilled Operations & Logistics roles. In addition, 88% of those students said that taking part in the DSH tournament made them more interested in a career in the video games industry (Esports: Engaging Education 2018).

We’d like to extend a special thank you to our 2019 tournament supporters including Blizzard Entertainment, SEGA, XMA-Viglen and Belong, who continue to enable us to host an accessible and diverse tournament for schools & colleges across the UK. As well as providing an engaging immersive experience, we can continue to champion roles in the video games industry, to increase the homegrown talent pipeline for futureproofing our digital economy.

Firstly, we'd like to thank our lead partner PlayStation, for their continued support and expertise with DSH esports and all aspects of the Digital Schoolhouse programme. Their contribution towards shaping industry-relevant careers roles for the tournament has been invaluable.

Blizzard Entertainment have provided their team-based multiplayer first-person video game, Overwatch, for the second year running. We believe this title will continue to encourage both female and male participation and help us to meet our ultimate goal of more female participation in the tournament overall.

As a sponsor of the programme, SEGA continue to provide their ongoing support, and directly contribute to our esports tournament through the donation of PCs and graphics cards. Donations such as this, allow our participating Schoolhouses that fall short of the minimum technical requirement, to be included in our tournament without exception.

Multi-award winning BAFTA UK games studio, Creative Assembly, designed and produced our bespoke 2018 winners’ trophy, and this year also continue to help our Schoolhouses through the donation of hardware.

If you’re interested in designing our trophy for DSH’s UK Champions 2019, please get in touch.

IT solutions company, XMA-Viglen, continue to support DSH esports through the provision of custom-built PCs for schools and colleges to use throughout the school heats. Craig Connell UK commercial manager at XMA-Viglen “is pleased to work again with the Digital Schoolhouse team in our second year of the partnership with more schools and colleges, more contacts and more fun! Very excited!”.

Schoolhouses - members of the programme - are provided with hardware should they need it and without the help of SEGA, Creative Assembly and XMA-Viglen it’s important to note that students wouldn’t be able to participate in the competition at all. Jude Nzemeke, DSH lead teacher at Southend High School for Boys explains: “We are grateful to Viglen-XMA. Organising the school heat of the DSH esport tournament would have been impossible without the machines they loaned us.”

Edge Esports have also been instrumental in getting school heats off the ground with their custom-built tech platform for all DSH school and college participants. This platform enables the programme to host school and student registration, in addition to team and tournament capabilities. Not only does this streamline the signup process for teachers, but it also provides students with a real-life experience of tournament management platforms. Edge’s support has been a key factor in enabling the tournament to expand in line with industry practice. Adam Whyte founder of Edge Esports states:

“I was delighted to be part of the Digital Schoolhouse last year as a mentor. Edge Esports is a company founded on enabling young gamers to experience esports in a safe, stable and scalable way. The opportunity to work with Digital Schoolhouse was a no brainer for us. We are delighted to be providing their unique initiative with a technical solution to a common issue in esports; player registration. We look forward to supporting DSH this year and beyond."

Belong by Game will host the DSH Regional Qualifiers in March 2019, providing a bespoke space for experienced and inexperienced gamers alike. Last year’s tournament saw the knockouts take place in Bristol, Kingston and Manchester. This year, now that schools/colleges don’t have to be Schoolhouses to sign up to the tournament (for the first time ever!), we hope to venture farther afield.

In addition to Belong, Staffordshire University will host our Midlands Regional Qualifier, which last year saw King Edward VI’s Battle Bards steal the title of Regional Champions 2018. Head of the games technology group at Staffordshire University, Dr Bobbie Fletcher, also led our 2018 ground-breaking study which proved that there’s a valuable place for esports in education.

The value of the skills that students develop whilst participating in the tournament will continue to be recognised by the Duke of York’s Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). For every role in the competition, students can redeem an exclusive DSH digital badge to contribute towards their Bronze Award.

There’s a variety of ways that organisations and individuals can support our esports tournament. If you’re interested in finding out how you can help us, please get in touch with the team.

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