How we increased eSports awareness at UTech Jamaica
Jamaica Esports Initiative
About the Project
The Push Start campaign‘s name comes from the method used to give vehicles a bit of momentum to get it running. The name also carries a secondary message in the world of video games. Often seen on old arcade machines, ‘push start’ is a call to action for players to join a new game in hopes of beating the boss and getting the high score.
The campaign allows young adults to have a profitable career in esports by providing them with resources, workshops, networking opportunities and encouraging responsibility.
The Jamaica eSports Initiative is the national governing body for eSports. Their end goal is to establish Jamaica as a recognized entity in the global eSports community and provide resources for our national team to participate in international events. Source: Jamaica eSports Initiative
The JEI’s biggest problems
eSports is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, but the Jamaican society is not supportive of gaming as a career path.
Esports is a very profitable career with an almost billion-dollar industry, 300 million fans, and prize pools in the millions.
The idea of making a lot of money has motivated many to get into esports at an early age and the parents are in full support. Some parents even buy their children pricy gaming rigs in the hopes of profiting once their career launches. Jamaica has also invested into the eSports industry, creating its own official esports body, the JEI and its national team, the Dr Birdz, which qualified for 2019’s Evolution (EVO) tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Esports is an exciting topic, as it is a new and exciting career path for the younger generation. eSports teaches team building, communication skills, and responsibility.
To reach out to our potential target audience of gamers between the ages of 16 and 22 who are interested in eSports as a professional career. The Jamaica eSports Initiative partnered with the push start campaign to host several workshops at the University of Technology Jamaica.
The workshops taught gamers how to play professional esports titles such as:
Street Fighter V
Mortal Kombat 11
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate.
Phase 1: Push Start
Undoubtedly, our target audience is most active on social media. That includes Instagram, which is our primary medium for social media promotion. Our posts consisted mainly of informing the public about esports within Jamaica, the role of the Jamaica eSports Initiative and sharing news about esports whenever it is released.
Hashtags we used included #esports #pushstart #jamaica #supersmashbros #esportslife
Phase 2: New Game
Once we had started the “Push Start” phase of our project, the next thing to do was to plan and execute the second phase of the project dubbed “New Game”.
This phase focused around face-to-face interactions with the target audience and encouraging them to participate in the workshops hosted, signing up for memberships and filling out surveys on the current state of eSports in Jamaica.
We would partner with the JEI to host video game demos on campus, offer brochures for students who were interested in joining and invite students to participate in our tournaments hosted at the University of Technology, Mandeville and XPG Games.
Phase 3: Boss Fight
Phase 3, dubbed “Boss Fight” focused on smaller tournaments and workshops to develop players into tournament level competitors.
The workshops would also serve the purpose of collecting contact information of students who were interested in joining the JEI.
This tactic was highly effective as longtime members of the JEI were there to help convince students who weren't completely sold on the opportunity to make a career in the world of esports.
Workshops were hosted weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 3 pm and 8 pm.
Phase 4: High Score
Phase 4 would be a culmination of all our efforts to educate the public about eSports and inviting gamers to join the Jamaica eSports Initiative.
The goal of this phase was to host a tournament on the University’s campus where players could compete in an eSport title for a trophy and prize money. The tournament would be a great way for families to get involved as they would turn out to support their children and more students would hear about the JEI through word of mouth.
The project was an overall success in our eyes as we increased awareness around UTech's campus and converted forty-two students into joining the JEI. We also managed to host eight esports training workshops, participate in three local eSports tournaments and had two professional eSports athletes to host coaching sessions.
3 monthly tournaments
8 eSports training workshops
2 pro player coaching sessions
42 new members
Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
Unfortunately, halfway through the campaign, the COVID-19 global pandemic had spread to Jamaica and all educational institutions were ordered to close down until further notice.
The workshops were hosted at the SCIT incubator on the university campus, which meant that we could no longer meet. eSports is a social event by definition, and we could not host the workshops anywhere else due to the governments social distancing advisory.
The campaign did not finish as intended with a pop-up booth on the University’s campus and a local tournament that anyone could participate in so we had to pause the campaign until further notice.
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