The Mississippi State University Esports club will host the second annual Esports Egg Bowl this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Humphrey Coliseum. Over 100 competitive gamers from MSU and the University of Mississippi will go head to head in a best-of-seven competition.
The competition will include popular video games in a variety of genres, including fighting games, MOBAs, Shooters and Sports, said Jacob Collins, an MSU senior studying software engineering and MSU Esports's vice president of external affairs. Robert “Hexagrams” Kirkbride will host this free event that is open to the general public and all students. If students are unable to attend the event, the competition will also be live streamed on Twitch.
The doors open at 10 a.m., and the event will open with remarks from MSU President Mark Keenum and MSU SA President Jake Manning. Counter-Strike: GO, a competitive objective-based PC shooter, will be the first match at 11 a.m.. Rainbow Six: Siege, a close-quarters PC shooter, will follow at 12:30 p.m. with the best of seven rounds. Five matches of Rocket League, a car-based soccer title, will take place at 2 p.m. Overwatch, a team-based shooter game, has a best of three rounds at 3:15 p.m. Call of Duty fans will be able to witness a best of five with Black Ops 4 at 4:45 p.m. League of Legends, a MOBA for PC, will have a match at 6 p.m. The final competition of the evening will feature Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Nintendo crossover fighting title, at 7:30 p.m. The evening will conclude with closing remarks and the presentation of the Golden Egg trophy.
MSU Esports is a school-sanctioned club that was established in 2012. Jason DeShong, a sophomore communication major and the president of MSU Esports, said the club hopes to expand their impact with events like the Egg Bowl to achieve a permanent state-wide culture akin to other sports. MSU Esports recognizes their overall theme of inclusivity, and their group has been exploding in membership within the last two years. Last year, MSU Esports had three hundred members, and they now maintain over seven hundred.
Last year, MSU Esports won the inaugural Esports Egg Bowl against Ole Miss Esports on Oct. 13. The competition was hosted by Ole Miss at the Pavilion, where it was open to the public and digitally streamed. The game lineup was the same, and the score resulted in a victory of 5-2 for MSU. MSU Esports initially held the name Esports @ MSU before becoming recognized as an official club sport. This year, the group has gone to great lengths to secure sponsorship and local recognition. Companies like iBUYPOWER and Nvidia have pledged resources, along with the motivational support of businesses like Strange Brew Coffeehouse. Other MSU sports and academic offices are tweeting in encouragement for their performance this Saturday.
While MSU Esports enjoys recruiting competitive players, there are other options in the group outside of video games. Their club may center around video games, but their group contains a diverse spectrum of roles within the entertainment industry. These roles include management, production, merchandizing, photography and videography. Their daily content creates plenty of experience for willing members to expand their skills with services like Twitch, YouTube and social media. Competitive matches are frequent, but MSU Esports aims to compete in larger tournaments once or twice a semester. Their main focus is to continue being the best players in the state. DeShong said he also hopes for the club to provide a community for students.
“One of MSU Esports main goals is becoming a new place for students to call home on campus,” DeShong said.
Brooks Duncan, an MSU sophomore studying petroleum engineering and MSU Esports treasurer, provided context for the growth of professional gaming.
“Overwatch recently had a five-million-dollar prize pool, so with the professional leagues growing larger, more attention is being focused on the collegiate level," Duncan said.
For more information on MSU Esports, visit their engage page, their discord chat, attend their bi-weekly meetings or find them on Instagram at @esports_msu.