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Inside last night’s NYU-Red Bull eSports extravaganza

Teams of three competed for a spot in the national finals of an eSports tournament sponsored by Red Bull.

Gamers compete at an eSports qualify round at NYU. (Photo by Grant Engle)

As the weather gets colder in New York, sitting in a basement playing video games is more socially acceptable — especially if it’s for a chance to compete on one of competitive gaming’s biggest stages
Students and avid gamers swarmed NYU’s lower-Manhattan campus to compete in a qualifying round of the Red Bull Clash Course: Destiny eSports tournament Tuesday night.
The Red Bull-sponsored tourney was hosted with the help of the NYU Game Center and Community Gaming New York (CGNY), a local group that helps set up and manage competitive gaming events around the city.

Being able to go out and interact with people instead of playing together over the internet is awesome.

In the basement of NYU’s Tisch Center, gamers played Destiny: The Taken King for a chance to compete in the national finals in Los Angeles, set for Jan. 23.
Destiny is a first-person multiplayer shooter, and blinking was not an option during the fast-paced battles against deadly enemies.
Teams of three took to their Xbox Ones or Playstation 4s and ran through an alien world with guns, lasers and futuristic explosives while working in concert to slay their rivals.
The room had a distinct tang of pizza and Red Bull, and it was easy to see that the competitors were well-caffeinated as they called out their positions to each other and went over strategy on the fly.
Gamers compete at an eSports qualify round at NYU.

Some gamers wore hoodies. (Photo by Grant Engle)


Teams were looking to punch their ticket to California by completing missions as quickly as possible. According to the gamers and hosts, around six minutes to complete a level, or “strike,” would give teams a real chance to qualify for the national tournament.
Eight teams from around the country will make it to Red Bull’s headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., and the NYU gamers furiously raced through levels in hopes of posting a fast enough average time to qualify.
The regional qualifiers will end Dec. 20, and the eight qualifiers will be determined then.

Why Red Bull loves eSports

A Heroes of the Storm tournament earlier this year that was broadcast on ESPN2 made some headlines when sports media talking heads made snide remarks on Twitter about eSports, but Red Bull has made a real commitment to the space. eSports is a under-the-radar giant increasingly stepping into the mainstream, as evidenced by a recent event covered by our sister site Technical.ly Philly.
Red Bull was one of the first major companies to take an interest in competitive gaming, said Chris Kovalik, founder of CGNY, and that interest ranges from hosting major tournaments to working with grassroots organizations and meetups.
“When Red Bull approached CGNY to help them embrace the gaming community in New York, we were super stoked about it,” said Kovalik. “They’ve been an amazing partner, and it’s crazy how helpful and responsive they’ve been — even as a giant company working with small organizations.”
Kovalik described Tuesday’s Red Bull Clash Course and other events as “Gamer Heaven.”

Why NYU students love eSports

The Red Bull Clash Course was the first Destiny-focused eSports event at the NYU campus, and NYU student and CGNY volunteer Nikki Breitbart said the tournament was a welcome addition to the ecosystem.
“For Red Bull to have structured this event, it’s really engaging the community and staying true to the game,” Breitbart said. “The response has been great from the players, and everyone seems happy with the atmosphere.”
Breitbart is a physics major at NYU, and she’s seen the popularity of eSports rise on campus, especially with the help and support of Red Bull and the Game Center.
“These gaming events are like another home for many of us,” Breitbart said. “Being able to go out and interact with people instead of playing together over the internet is awesome. It’s really nice for us all to meet in a social setting.”
You can keep track of the NYU Game Center’s events here, and you can find out when you can challenge people in eSports tournaments with CGNY here.

Companies: NYU Game Center
Series: Brooklyn

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