Ohio’s Ashland University will be the first university to offer a scholarship for Fortnite Battle Royale as part of its eSports program beginning Fall 2018.
The 100-player online shooter game, in which players fight to the death, has been the most watched game on the Twitch streaming platform in recent months. So popular is the title, online organizations including The eSports Hub and MLG GameBattles have established ladders and tournaments for the game.
Josh Buchanan, who will be the head coach for the program, told Variety, “I think Fortnite has a lot of room for players to get creative.
“There’s a lot of teamwork in [the game’s core building mechanic] that’s really untapped. A lot of players kind of do fancy stuff, and it looks cool, but it might not be the most efficient. I think it’s a game that, due to how creative you can be, there’s a lot of potential to get really, really skilled in the game.”
The eSports team will arrange four-player teams who will begin competing in the Fall, with the program offering up to $4,000 in scholarships. Applications will be based on player skills and academic requirements.
“As part of the program, you’re going to have coaches and a staff dedicated to helping you succeed—not only in the game but also in your academics,” Buchanan said to Variety.
The statement for the scholarship by the university says that a gaming center will be placed at the school with “25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories and peripherals.”
The National Association of Collegiate Esports stipulates that Ashland University is the first college to officially announce a Fortnite Battle Royale scholarship, but Missouri Baptist University has announced their plans for adding a Fortnite team.