The Ashland University in Ohio is officially the first college in the United States to offer a scholarship for the popular Fortnite Battle Royale game.
The eSports arena is expected to grow and cover more games, but so far, the online shooter has not been included. Nevertheless, Fortnite has been making waves on Twitch recently and it's in the spotlight, enjoying wide popularity. MLG GameBattles, The eSports Hub, and other online organizations have started making tournaments and ladders, and the game keeps gaining ground.
Ohio's Ashland University Announced 'Fortnite' Scholarship
As Ashland highlights in its official announcement, Fortnite has millions of fans and last month alone it saw more than 3.4 million people playing the game simultaneously.
"Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience," says Josh Buchanan, who will be the head coach. "We're excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills."
The game requires extensive teamwork and great creativity, allowing players to advance in their own way and build up their skills masterfully. The competitive gaming scene has not seen many battle royale games, but PUBG and Fortnite seem poised to change that and take on the eSports arena.
'Fortnite' Scholarship Program: How It Works
The scholarship program for Fortnite will include several coaches and members of staff that will guide students and help them improve their skills in the game, as well as the rest of the college classes.
Fortnite scholarship students will be considered athletes and, as such, will also have access to the university's trainers and fitness facility so that they also stay in shape physically, not just in the game.
Players will also get to participate in small group sessions, or take one-on-one classes with teachers dedicated to help them learn and get better on all fronts.
The Ashland Eagles team will start hosting open tryouts this fall semester, with scholarships of up to $4,000. Both existing and prospective Ashland students can participate in the tryouts, and their performance will be reviewed taking into account both their academic achievements and their skills in the game.
Fortnite will not be the only game included in the program, as students will also get coaching for other games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, and Counter-Strike.
With Ashland now leading the way, other colleges are expected to introduce similar programs soon enough. The Missouri Baptist University, for instance, has such plans already.