Esports startup partners with Epic Games making Fortnite an official college sport

Epic Games has partnered with Californian startup PlayVS. The pair have worked together to formally introduce Fortnite into high schools and colleges as an official sport.

Fortnite key art image
Fortnite will officially be part of school sports programs. Photo: Fortnite

Hit the ground running

PlayVS was founded in April 2018 with the aim to bring Esports into high schools. It views the industry in the same light as standard sports such as hockey and baseball.

It has already partnered with high school sporting association NFHS to allow players to be entered in league with neighboring schools for a $64 fee per person.

This creates a foundation for Esports at a grassroots level, meaning that the competitive nature of the sport will new heights over the next few years. Esports will be taken much more seriously by schools and parents alike since there is status and money at stake.

A major breakthrough

However, the partnerships with schooling institutions aren’t the only major factor that separates PlayVS from its rivals. TechCrunch reports that the firm has partnered with Epic Games, which is the publisher of arguably the biggest gaming franchise in the last decade.

Fortnite & PlayVS
The partnership between the two companies could be the start of a major trend within the gaming industry. Photo: Fortnite / PlayVS

Usually, Esports groups organize competitions independently from those behind the games that are being played. Even though they are completely reliant on the products that these companies create, they don’t have any official backing from them. Therefore, they could be at the risk of being shut down if a publisher wants.

Meanwhile, PlayVS has the firm backing of the publisher of Fortnite to run competitions in educational institutions. With the game a preferred choice for students, the Los Angeles outfit is in a prime position to dominate the Esports industry this decade.

Schools don’t have to invest in costly resources to maintain these partnerships as gamers can just sign into their accounts to be placed into their scheduled matches. PlayVS then displays all the insights and results for fans, players and coaches to analyze.

The first PlayVS season starts in March of this year. Photo: Twitter via PlayVS

Proud moment

The CEO of PlayVS Delane Parnell took to his Twitter to say how he is pleased that company has aligned with with Epic to operate its flagship product competitions in high schools and colleges.

“Yes, you heard it correct. We’re now building the proper infrastructure for college esports too,” Parnell said on his Twitter

“This is the first time that Epic has ever done any organized competitions for amateur Fortnite players. It’s an honor to be working with Nate and his team on this.”

PlayVS has already raised $96 million since its launch under two years ago. Furthermore, over 13,000 high schools have already joined the waitlist to get an esports team via PlayVS.

For comparison, 14,000 high schools in the United States have a varsity football program. Therefore, this business model has the scope to become a major cash cow throughout the country. Altogether, these reports further highlight the ever-growing role of Esports within the technology industry.

What are your thoughts on this move by PlayVS? Do you think this could spur a change in the landscape of the Esports industry? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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