With the Vainglory Spring Championships fast approaching London's O2 later this month, we sit down with the National University Esports League's founder Josh Williams to see how the game is engaging with UK universities.
Please tell us how the NUEL will be working with Vainglory going forwards, what tournaments do you have planned and when?
Societies are the backbone of the university scene and our main focus has been working with them to help build a Vainglory community within their universities. We see Vainglory as a long-term project so it's important that we help to support the growth of a community that's going to last.
So far the feedback we've got from the societies we've worked with has been really positive and people enjoy not only the events but more importantly playing the game too. Once the community has grown enough, we'll then help to create inter-university tournaments so we can start to see who are the best Vainglory players across the country.
Why did you decide to branch out into mobile esports?
Super Evil Megacorp. These guys are awesome to work with and understand the importance of empowering communities to create something awesome. They've been willing to put their faith into the societies to create a great experience because they understand their members better than anyone else, so working together we've helped supply an endless amount of pizza and swag to create or embed Vainglory into events at campuses across the UK.
Being a mobile game means everyone has a device in their pockets that can play the game. It's so much easier for the society reps to organise an event and bring together their members to enjoy themselves.
"Once the community has grown enough, we'll then help to create inter-university tournaments so we can start to see who are the best Vainglory players across the country."
How will the NUEL Vainglory tournaments work, will entrants have to use a set tablet device or will any compatible smart device work?
The great aspect about Vainglory is how accessible it is and this is something that we want to be a key part of the tournament, so we won't be putting any additional barriers in the way that would stop people from enjoying Vainglory, like device restrictions.
Our plans for inter-university competitions will be kicking off in the next academic year so the details are still to be decided but we're planning on doing something different that really encapsulates what makes Vainglory special.
What are your thoughts on the Vainglory Spring Championships taking place in the UK this month? Will the NUEL have a presence there?
It's fantastic to see another international esports event in the UK, especially at such a prestigious arena. It shows confidence in the UK that developers like Super Evil Megacorp are willing to invest here and demonstrates how improvements in the UK have helped it become a more developed esports scene.
It's also great seeing how Super Evil Megacorp have put together a team of broadcast talent that's largely made up of people who of them came through the UK ranks, a lot of them have spent time at The NUEL too so there's a certain sense of pride being able to see them on such a big stage at an international event!
I hope others can take inspiration from the fact that these guys started off in the UK scene and use them as role models for becoming a professional in the esports industry. We're inviting our societies and their reps to the Spring Championships not just to watch but to meet some of the key players in the industry during a student seminar on Saturday May 20th.
Anyone interested in taking part should sign up here and they can say exactly what field they are interested in - development, production, shoutcasting and more.
"We're planning on doing something different that really encapsulates what makes Vainglory special."
Do you think mobile esports like Vainglory are a more accessible entry into esports for many young people? What are your thoughts on us having top players like MrKCool who is just 14 years old?
Naturally having a game on mobile is going to make it more accessible, most younger people will have mobile phones and are just a couple of taps away from installing the game.
I think it's great kids getting involved in esports and should certainly be encouraged, but as an industry we need to ensure that they are protected from the temptations like skipping school or being taken advantage of when money becomes involved.
I don't know a great deal about MrKCool but from what I've seen it's great to see his dad taking such an interest in his involvement with esports and having worked with Super Evil Megacorp I'm very confident they'll be looking after him well.