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Breaking Barriers: Empowering Neurodivergent Gamers

Video games are often considered to be a safe outlet for neurodivergent individuals to escape the pressures and stresses of everyday life, providing a form of escape to a safe environment over which they have greater control. As a result, 41% of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (a common form of neurodivergence) spend most of their free time playing video games.

This increased representation of neurodivergent individuals in the gaming world is also seen in the video game industry, where 18% of game developers in the UK identify as neurodivergent compared to 15% of the overall UK population.  

Therefore, providing safe, positive, and supportive environments for neurodivergent gamers is vital to helping them explore the benefits of video games and the many places games can take them. At the New Meta Academy, we have been exploring how to make our space accessible for everyone, no matter what challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. 

two people sit at gaming stations playing a video game

What is neurodivergence, and why is it important?

Neurodivergence refers to the natural differences in brain development and how our brains function. Diagnosed neurodivergent conditions include Autism (also known as Autistic Spectrum Disorder or ASD), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and Dyscalculia. When considering how to make our space as accessible as possible, at the New Meta Academy we are focusing particularly on supporting individuals with ASD and ADHD, as these tend to provide the most challenges for our Academy students. 

Understanding neurodivergence and how people experience the same environment in different ways is important. Some people may find bright lights, loud music, and potent smells disturbing, distracting, or off-putting, preventing them from enjoying and relaxing in a particular space. Identifying and acknowledging these barriers helps us to plan how to help those who may find our space at the New Meta Academy overwhelming.

How are we increasing accessibility for neurodivergent children at the New Meta Academy?

We spoke to Oscar from the New Meta Academy to discover how we are maintaining accessibility for neurodivergent children in the present and our plans to increase accessibility in the future. 

So what are safe spaces, and how do they help our kids?

Safe spaces are areas that our kids can retreat to whenever things are getting too much – if they are becoming overwhelmed or facing whatever triggers they might have. They are places where they can go to take care of themselves, with their parents if necessary too. Ultimately, it’s just a safe haven where they can go inside each of our lessons. 

What are our passports, and how do they help us get to know our kids and their needs before they show up for their first class?

Our passports are an intermediary between the children and the coaches. When they first arrive, during their inductions, we have a collaborative session between them, the coach, and their parents. This is so we can understand the child and their needs as best as possible. So, if they do end up feeling overwhelmed, we understand how best to deal with that. It is essentially a record to help us collaborate as best as possible with that child. In the event that we do need to bring their stress down a couple of levels, maybe because of a meltdown or a shutdown, they can go to the safe space, and we can take care of them in a way that they appreciate.  

How do we help kids feel more familiar with the space before they arrive?

The first and most important thing to help encourage familiarity with the space is ultimately for them and their parents to come to the New Meta Academy and have a tour themselves, right? We want you to experience our environment, whether it be the sounds or any smells, which we as staff may not notice but can be more of a trigger for others. 

We want you to be able to experience as many of these as possible so you can let us know why this may or may not be the right place for you, and we can understand how to mitigate any concerns before the first trial session. 

How are coaches prepared to best manage children’s individual needs? 

First and foremost, every coach has a DBS verification. We make sure they are well equipped to deal with young people. There are also certain procedures that help us in more or less any given situation. 

When it comes to neurodiversity training, this is something that we are very keen on doing. This is a way for us to open our eyes to things that neurotypical people may not be as sensitive to, such as certain smells or sounds that we don’t understand or realise are there until they are explained to us. It is a way for us to become more sensitive to problems or objects that may hinder our students from getting the best possible outcome for their learning. 

What can you do if you want to access our space, but you or your child face challenges due to neurodivergence?

The first step to ensuring we can help you and your child feel comfortable with us is to tell us how best to accommodate any particular needs you may have, particularly requirements you or your child may have due to neurodivergence. We want to work with neurodivergent individuals to ensure they can benefit from gaming and learning here just like anyone else. 

If you plan on bringing your child to a trial class at the New Meta Academy, we allow people to disclose any support and access needs when they sign up. You are also highly encouraged to contact our Academy via email or phone so that staff members can tailor their approach to you or your child’s visit as accurately as possible to what you need. 

We welcome guidance and feedback from anyone from any background who uses our space.

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    What is Esports? A Deep Dive into the World of Competitive Gaming

    Esports, short for electronic sports, has become a global sensation. Competitive video games have transformed from a passionate pastime to an over $1.38 billion industry. From packed stadiums to online streaming platforms, millions of fans worldwide tune in to watch professional gamers compete in various popular video game titles.

    Those who have only recently discovered the esports industry’s scope may be surprised that its history stretches far before the 2000s when competitive video games began to represent the system we see today. The first-ever video game tournament was held in the 1960s, and by 1978, the world had experienced its first international competition hosted by Atari.

    As the esports industry grew from the internet boom in the 1990s to the present digital age, it developed many of the core structures seen in traditional sports. Roles such as coach, physiotherapist, player agent, team manager, analyst, presenter, journalist, and PR agent all exist within the esports ecosystem at various professional levels.

    So, if you are new to the world of esports and want to learn more, where do you start?

    A professional esports player walks onto the stage at the Apex Legends Global Series Championship, with the Championship trophy to the right of the photo.
    Players walk onto the stage at an Apex Legends Championship. Photo by Joe Brady via Electronic Arts

    Esports building blocks – what is the esports ecosystem?

    There is a lot of diversity within esports. Many different competitive games have their ecosystems, running different styles of competitive seasons and regular tournaments. However, some fundamental building blocks to the esports ecosystem can help you understand how the industry works.

    Publishers

    All video games have a publisher. This is the company that publishes video games developed either internally or by a separate developer (which can be an individual, small group, or a larger company). Publishers often finance or help finance the video game development process and are responsible for distributing the game once it is published. Publishers are also often responsible for paying for any licences used by the game, advertisement, and managing the esports scene attached to competitive games.

    Publishers can also be split into three main groups:

    • AAA Game Publishers. These publishers are responsible for high-budget, tech-forward, and high-distribution video games. Competitive AAA games almost always have a corresponding esports scene.
    • Indie Game Publishers. Indie games usually focus on creativity and originality with a lower budget and more specific audience. Sometimes, indie games like Among Us or Lethal Company become viral sensations. However, indie games rarely have a corresponding esports scene.
    • Mobile Game Publishers. Mobile games are video games made specifically for smartphones or tablet devices. Games such as CandyCrush fall under this category. Some mobile games have esports scenes, such as PUBG Mobile, Mobile Legends Bang Bang, and Arena of Valor.

    Some video game publishers let external companies manage their esports scenes. For example, Counter-Strike esports is largely managed by companies like EFG, Blast, and PGL rather than the game’s publisher, Valve. However, others take a hands-on approach to their games’ esports scenes – for example, Riot Games tightly controls who runs official tournaments for their esports titles.

    Organisations and teams

    To have a competitive ecosystem, you need professional players. These gamers are talented enough to compete with the best of the best, often training every day to win even the toughest competitions.

    Most professional players are signed to an organisation. There are many esports organisations worldwide. Some focus on and invest in specific esports scenes, while other larger organisations sign teams or players across several games. Esports organisations are similar to a football or rugby team—they sign, train, and trade players, paying them a salary and providing them with the necessary equipment and support to reach their full potential.

    Examples of famous esports teams include G2, Team Vitality, TSM, T1, and Team Liquid. Some traditional sports teams and famous athletes also invest in esports. For example, footballer David Beckham, F1 driver Lando Norris, and basketball icon Michael Jordan have stakes in esports teams. On top of this, Manchester City FC, Wolves FC, and PSG FC all own esports players and teams.

    An esports player and their coach embrace after winning a game in the Apex Legends Global Series
    Players, coaches, and teams are at the heart of esports organisations. Photo by Joe Brady via Electronic Arts

    Events and tournaments

    The next fundamental building block to the world of esports is events. Esports events are the pinnacle of a game’s competitive season and are usually held in person at a LAN (Local access network event).

    Here, teams of professional esports players compete against each other in front of a live crowd. Large prize pools are often up for grabs, and the teams will progress through a tournament format. Some games, such as Fortnite, also have solo players competing against each other.

    There are several different types of tournaments and events within esports. The following are the most common:

    • Battle Royale Tournaments. Battle Royale games are where individuals or teams compete in a “lobby” (group of players or teams) to be the last standing. These games are usually shooters, where players must eliminate one another while traversing a game map. These esports tournaments often have upwards of sixty players competing on the stage.
    • MOBA Tournaments. “MOBA” stands for “Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.” In MOBA tournaments, two teams of players compete against one another on a predefined battlefield, controlling one character each and working strategically together to achieve a common goal before the opposing team. Both teams interact with one another on the battlefield, often engaging in team fights to take control of the game.
    • Tactical Shooters. These highly strategic games involve tactical planning and usually require impressively accurate aim. Teams usually have five players, and only two teams compete against one another at a time. The primary goal is to eliminate the other team while working towards an opposing goal, with one side having an aim (for example, to plant a bomb) and the other trying to stop them from succeeding (preventing a bomb from being planted or diffusing it).

    Events and tournaments are usually the thrilling conclusions of a game’s regular season (where games are played online). The regular season resembles a regular football season, whereas the offline LAN tournaments resemble a football cup’s quarterfinal, semifinal, and final stages.

    A team of professional Counter-Strike players embrace on stage at IEM Katowice 2024. You can see the stadium seats behind them.
    A team huddle during a Counter-Strike (tactical shooter) tournament in Poland. Photo via ESL

    What careers can you find within the esports industry?

    Just like traditional sports, esports offers a wide range of career options. No matter where your strengths lie, the esports industry likely has a role that would suit you!

    Many esports career paths fit within three different areas of the industry: Professional teams/organisations, tournament and event organisation, and media.

    Professional Teams/Organisations

    Potential roles:

    • Professional esports athlete
    • Coaching staff (including esports analyst)
    • Physio and Psychotherapy
    • Player management
    • Finance, budgeting, and organisation management

    Professional esports teams and organisations range in size from grassroots (smaller, more locally influential) to Tier One (larger, competing on a regional and international level). Grassroots organisations are often a great place to build experience in team roles.

    Many colleges and universities also have esports teams. Young people can compete in student leagues and tournaments such as NSE (National Student Esports) and NUEL (National University Esports League) events. Although some UK universities now offer esports degrees, it is also possible to gain esports-related experience while also studying mainstream subjects.

    Tournament and Event Organisation

    Potential roles:

    • Event/project management and event direction
    • Technical director/producer
    • Videographer
    • Audio Engineer
    • Lighting design/operation
    • Observer (directing which players are shown on broadcast)
    • Digital broadcasting
    • Stage host/interviewer
    • Casting (esports commentary)
    • Tournament admin/referee

    Esports events complete the competitive calendar, where teams battle on stage to win a coveted title. Whether an event is a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) tournament or a packed stadium, an extensive team collaborates to bring the magic alive. From audio and lighting to broadcasts and being on screen, an incredible variety of work is involved in setting the stage for players.

    An Apex Legends esports professional makes a heart gesture towards a packed crowd.
    An esports player makes a heart gesture to their fans in the crowd. Image by Joe Brady via Electronic Arts

    Media

    Potential roles:

    • Social media management
    • Content creation
    • Journalism
    • Public relations
    • Marketing

    Gaming and esports-based media has rapidly become an industry within its own right. YouTube, Twitch, and other social media platforms have led to the rise of gaming influencers like PewDiePie, Markiplier, and Ninja. The growth of esports events has also led to the founding of esports and gaming-specific news outlets such as Dot Esports, Esports.gg, and Dexerto. Alongside media influencers and outlets, Public Relations agencies will often specialise in the esports and gaming industries, assisting with events marketing, organising content creation across organisations, and arranging player interviews with media outlets.

    Why should you pay attention to the esports industry?

    The universal appeal of gaming makes both the current size and potential future of esports astronomically significant. Over hundreds of years, we witnessed the progression of sports pastimes, which inevitably led to competition to find the best, most skilled, and most accomplished athletes. Now, we are seeing a condensed, fast, and exciting progression in gaming, accelerated by how easy it is to connect talented gamers from around the world digitally.

    In an increasingly online world, esports is also at the forefront of digital culture. How many pop culture phenomena have stemmed from video games? The answer is too many to count. Even some of our most popular TV series in recent years, such as The Last of Us, found their origins in video games.

    Who knows where the world of gaming and esports will take you? It is a fresh, new industry with so much to explore. Why not start your journey with us at the New Meta Academy.

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      From Screen Time to Skill Time: An Introduction to Esports and Child Development

      Can esports positively impact your child’s development? Despite the widespread negativity directed towards gaming in the mainstream media, studies prove that esports can absolutely be beneficial to developing positive behaviours in children. In fact, a 2013 BBC article extensively reported on the benefits of video games, relaying the results of several scientific studies that demonstrated positive cause-and-effect relationships between video games and key cognitive functions, abilities, and skills.  

      Video games require a vast range of cognitive skills. Team-orientated games such as Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, and Apex Legends also require a high degree of communication. Through competitive video games, your kids can actively work on developing these skills with their friends in a comfortable, engaging, and competitive environment. 

      What skills can your child build through esports coaching?

      Cognitive Skills

      Video games regularly pose cognitive challenges. For example, a game like League of Legends or Dota 2 requires you to strategise throughout the game, choosing certain items or abilities to collect depending on your strategic approach. On the other hand, a first-person shooter game (FPS) such as Fortnite often requires quick and confident decision-making under pressure. 

      Additionally, all games require a degree of problem-solving. For example, gamers must decide where to land on a map to gain the best advantage, which strategy can effectively counter another, or how to navigate an obstacle in the way of success. Children can benefit greatly from being presented with these challenges and encouraged to navigate them both independently and cooperatively. 

      The application of these skills extends far beyond the world of video games. For example, meeting and overcoming challenges is a great way to build confidence. Learning to approach new challenges in a familiar environment such as a favourite video game can help build the confidence necessary to overcome challenges in new, unfamiliar scenarios. 

      Esports Academy - Media 14

      Social Skills and Navigating Online Relationships

      It is time to dispel the myth of gaming being an isolating activity – video games have an incredible ability to connect people in striving for a common goal. Any team-orientated video game, from League of Legends to Fortnite, requires consistent communication and collaboration. Encouraging children to develop their teamwork within an engaging game makes the process of learning to work collaboratively far more exciting. 

      Many parents have concerns about their children’s social skills after losing crucial opportunities to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many kids found comfort in video games during this time. Bringing them into physical spaces to continue enjoying activities that are familiar is a great way to maintain their confidence while encouraging them to socialise in a new environment. 

      Practising online communication in a supervised environment is also increasingly important for children in the digital age. According to the World Economic Forum, the amount of jobs that can be worked remotely is expected to rise by 25% by 2030. Navigating online conversation and collaboration will be more vital than ever before. Gaming online can help increase familiarity with these forms of communication, and children can learn appropriate online behaviour with guidance from our coaches at the New Meta Academy.    

      Esports Academy - Media 11

      Brain Development

      Video games can even play a part in crucial aspects of brain development. Competitive games’ fast-paced nature helps children improve their reaction times, attention span, memory, hand-to-eye coordination, and spatial reasoning. To win a game, they must multitask, paying attention to their teammates while ensuring they stay on the ball and alert for the next action. 

      Through this combination of actions, children can also develop improved cognitive flexibility. This refers to their ability to quickly and effectively switch between tasks and adjust their behaviour to different situations. 
      Cognitive flexibility is a particularly crucial development stage for children between 7 and 9 years old, and it continues to improve through their teenage years. At the New Meta Academy, we cater to children from the age of 6 to 16 and support them in this journey.

      How can we support you and your child to achieve your goals?

      Creating a safe and supportive environment for gamers is at the heart of New Meta. Our gaming studio was founded to create a space for passionate players of all ages to develop their skills amongst friends. Now, the New Meta Academy brings kids from 6 to 16 the added encouragement, positive environment, and professional guidance to take their skills above and beyond. 

      Cognitive skills, social skills, and brain development are all incredibly important to your children as they learn to navigate an increasingly digital world. We not only give your child space to explore their gaming passion, but we also find ways to help them use video games as an outlet to improve their lives. 

      We are always excited to welcome new students into the academy! To learn more about the Play New Meta Academy and sign up for a trial class, click the link below!

      Sign up now for a free trial class

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        The Golden Joystick (or Keyboard)

        How Much Do eSports Players Really Make?

        In the world of sports, discussions about athletes’ salaries often spark intrigue and astonishment. The eSports industry is no exception. As competitive gaming has skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade, so have the earnings of its top players. But just how lucrative is a career in eSports?

        Tiers of Earnings

        1. Entry-Level Players: Just like any profession, newcomers in the eSports scene usually earn less. Depending on the game and the league, starting salaries for players in recognized leagues can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per month. This doesn’t account for additional earnings from sponsorships, streaming, or prize money.
        2. Professional Players: Players who’ve made a name for themselves in popular games like “League of Legends,” “Dota 2,” or “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” (or Counter-Strike 2) can expect much heftier paychecks. Salaries can range from $5,000 to $40,000 a month. In addition to base salaries, many of these players receive benefits like health insurance, training resources, and even housing.
        3. Elite Players: The crème de la crème of the eSports world take home staggering sums. With tournament prize pools sometimes hitting tens of millions, a top player’s annual earnings can exceed millions. For example, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, known for his prowess in “Dota 2,” has earned over $6.8 million solely from tournament wins.

        Additional Streams of Income

        Aside from base salaries and tournament winnings, players often have multiple revenue streams:

        1. Streaming: Platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow players to monetize their gameplay and interactions with fans. Popular streamers can make thousands daily through ads, donations, and subscriptions.
        2. Sponsorships & Endorsements: Brands eager to tap into the youthful demographic of eSports often sponsor players, offering them lucrative deals to wear their gear or promote their products.
        3. Merchandising: Top players and teams release their merchandise, from T-shirts to gaming accessories, adding another revenue stream.

        Factors Affecting Earnings

        Several factors can influence a player’s earnings:

        • Game Popularity: More popular games generally have larger prize pools and more sponsorship opportunities.
        • Team Performance: Consistent high performance in tournaments can significantly boost earnings from prize money.
        • Marketability: Players with charismatic personalities can attract more lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals.

        In conclusion, the potential earnings in eSports vary widely, but as the industry continues to grow, it’s clear that a career in competitive gaming can be incredibly rewarding. While not every player will become a millionaire, those who invest in their skills, branding, and marketability have a golden joystick leading them to financial success.

        Money is not everything though, one thing that separates best players from the rest is the ability and desire to learn, develop and self-improve. Learn more about how our students develop growth mindset here at Metalions Academy.

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          Rocket League or How Football with Rocket Powered Cars Stormed the World of Esports

          Rocket League, a unique fusion of soccer and rocket-powered cars, has taken the gaming world by storm since its release in 2015. Developed by Psyonix, this innovative video game has not only gained immense popularity but has also become a platform for skill development, teamwork, and creativity, making it an excellent choice for kids. Ok, maybe the title for this article is a bit overdramatic, but hear us out…

          In this article, we will delve into the history of Rocket League, tracing its roots, evolution, and the impact it has on children, highlighting the numerous benefits it offers for their growth and development.

          The Birth of Rocket League

          To understand Rocket League’s significance, we must first explore its origins. Rocket League is not the first game of its kind; it’s an evolution of Psyonix’s earlier title, “Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars” (SARPBC), released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3. SARPBC introduced the concept of rocket-powered cars playing football, but it failed to gain widespread recognition due to various factors, including its complex gameplay and limited marketing.

          Rocket League, however, was designed with a more accessible approach. Released in July 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, it quickly garnered attention due to its easy-to-learn mechanics and exhilarating gameplay. The game allowed players to control customizable rocket-powered cars, scoring goals in a football-style match with oversized balls. This blend of skill and thrill paved the way for Rocket League’s rise to stardom.

          Rocket League’s Meteoric Rise

          Rocket League’s success can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, the game’s accessibility made it appealing to players of all skill levels. Its basic mechanics, which revolve around driving and hitting the ball into a goal, are easy for beginners to grasp, while the advanced mechanics and techniques offer a high skill ceiling for more experienced players. This delicate balance between simplicity and depth helped Rocket League build a diverse and dedicated player base.

          Secondly, Psyonix employed effective marketing strategies, including partnerships with popular esports organizations and content creators. This not only increased the game’s visibility but also laid the foundation for a thriving competitive scene.

          The introduction of cross-platform play further expanded Rocket League’s player base and encouraged a sense of community among players. Whether on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC, players could unite in matches and compete against each other, fostering a global gaming culture.

          Benefits of Rocket League for Kids

          Rocket League offers numerous advantages for kids. Ultimately, as with most competitive multi-player games, Rocket League can be instrumental in developing cognitive functions, reflexes and foster creativity. However, the are some aspects of the game that place it in a unique position to make a difference very early in kids development:

          • Enhanced Hand-Eye Coordination: Rocket League demands precise control. Players must navigate the field, make split-second decisions, and coordinate their actions accurately. This enhances hand-eye coordination, which can benefit children in various life aspects, such as academics and sports.
          • Strategic Thinking: Rocket League isn’t merely about hitting the ball aimlessly. It requires strategic thinking, teamwork, and understanding the game’s mechanics. Kids learn to anticipate opponents’ moves, plan their actions, and collaborate as a team—skills essential in gaming and real-life scenarios.
          • Creativity and Problem-Solving: The game’s physics engine allows for creative and unpredictable plays. Players develop problem-solving skills as they figure out innovative ways to score goals and make saves. This approach fosters a growth mindset, viewing failures as opportunities for improvement.
          • Sportsmanship and Fair Play: Rocket League’s online multiplayer setting teaches kids about sportsmanship and fair play. They interact with players from diverse backgrounds and learn about respect, teamwork, and graciousness in both victory and defeat.
          • Quick Decision-Making: Decisions in Rocket League must be fast. Kids learn to quickly analyze situations, decide under pressure, and adapt to changing circumstances—valuable skills in academics, extracurriculars, and future professional endeavors.
          • Community and Social Skills: Engaging with the Rocket League community, be it through casual or competitive play, allows kids to socialize with peers. They make friends, communicate, and collaborate, enhancing their social skills and sense of belonging.
          • Introduction to Esports: Rocket League’s competitive environment exposes kids to esports. This introduction can unveil potential career opportunities and emphasize dedication, discipline, and hard work’s importance for success.

          Rocket League’s transformation from a niche concept to a global phenomenon underscores its allure and enduring appeal. Its unique blend of football and rocket-powered cars provides not just entertainment but also essential lessons and skills for children. From honing hand-eye coordination to instilling strategic thinking and sportsmanship, the game has manifold benefits.

          Whether looking to achieve esports stardom or to learn essential life skills, Rocket League world has it all. It is essential though, that an aspiring and passionate gamer receives appropriate guiding on their way to exploring the amazing world of competitive Rocket League. If that sounds good, we offer free trial Rocket League classes where kids get to join their peers in a live, competitive environment under guidance of a professional Esports Coach.

          See you at Metalions Academy

          Learn more about the world of Esports on our Blog

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            Road to becoming a professional Esports Player

            What is Esports and who Esports players are?

            Esports refers to competitive video gaming where players participate in organized tournaments or leagues, often for prize money. Professional esports player is an individual who competes at the highest levels of these tournaments, often as a member of organized teams, and earn their primary or significant income from playing video games competitively.

            How Players Compete and Earn

            Esports players actively compete in organized video game tournaments, dedicating countless hours to practice and improve their skills. They earn money in various ways: through prize money from tournament victories, contracts and salaries from esports teams, sponsorships from brands associated with gaming, revenue from streaming their gameplay on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, and endorsements or collaborations with gaming and non-gaming companies alike.

            Sounds Good but how do I start?

            Now there isn’t really a secret formula to becoming a professional esports player as with most things it requires dedication, discipline and a pinch of talent. However, below we will attempt to outline some key things to focus on that aspiring gamers can use to guide them on the path to stardom:

            1. Choose Your Game (duh…)
              • Chances are you already know but you should take into consideration how popular the game is and how active is the competitive scene
              • Ultimately, you want a game that really resonates with you. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become expert in something so you are best to choose the game you can stick with
            2. Get Active in the Community Go out and meet people! Local tournaments, community nights and other events are perfect for it. The beauty of esports is that a lot of the networking happens online so get involved in forums, Discord groups and online chats that talk games and Esports. Each competitive Esports title has a rich and vibrant online community so take advantage!
            3. Find the Right Equipment Invest in quality gaming peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and headsets (and a comfortable chair that’s good for your posture!)
            4. Practice Often
              • Set a regular practice schedule, treating it with the discipline of any other sport. There are academies like the Metalions Academy which help you foster those skills in a structured environment
              • Analyze your gameplay to identify areas of improvement.
              • Use tools and resources to refine specific skills and strategies, speak, play and learn from other people, especially if they are better than you
            5. Stay up to date
              • Stay updated on patches, meta changes, and strategies.
              • Learn from losses as much as from victories.
            6. Start Small
              • Enter local tournaments or online leagues to gain experience.
              • Focus on incremental progress and set short-term goals.
              • Seek feedback and constantly adjust your approach.
            7. Join or Create a Team
              • Collaborate with players who complement your skills and share your dedication.
              • Communicate effectively, focusing on teamwork and synergy.
              • Play often but don’t forget about building positive team dynamic by hanging out in the real world!
              • If you want to learn more about how to create a team read here

            Being an Esports player and competing on the big scene is an exhilarating life that’s every gamer’s dream. At the same time, it’s a brutal and competitive world so aspiring players should be aware that it is not an easy goal to achieve so you will need resilience, discipline and definitely a good bit of luck.

            Best Esports players in the world start off from a young age though by submerging themselves in an environment just like the one at Metalions Academy, where players don’t just practice mechanical skills but also learn skills that are crucial in gaming and greater life, including communication, teamwork, cognitive reasoning and discipline

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              Is Esports a Real Sport?

              What is Esports? (A reminder)

              Esports, short for “electronic sports,” refers to the competitive world of video gaming where individuals or teams face off in organized tournaments, often playing for substantial prize money and significant prestige. Over the past few decades, esports has rapidly grown in popularity, evolving from casual competitions among friends to global events broadcasted to millions of viewers. Major esports tournaments can rival traditional sports events in terms of viewership, with arenas filled to capacity and passionate fans from around the world. A variety of games, ranging from real-time strategy titles, first-person shooters, to multiplayer online battle arenas, serve as the foundation for these competitions. As the industry has expanded, it has also fostered career opportunities, including professional players, coaches, analysts, and broadcasters, underlining esports’ transformation into a legitimate and influential component of modern entertainment.

              A (very) brief history of Esports and its growth in 21st century

              In the early days of esports, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, competitive video gaming was mostly a grassroots movement, with enthusiasts organizing small-scale tournaments in local LAN (Local Area Network) parties or arcades. Games like “Quake,” “StarCraft,” and “Counter-Strike” were foundational. By the 21st century, the landscape had dramatically shifted. For instance, the League of Legends World Championship in 2019 boasted over 100 million viewers, with the finals alone attracting an audience of 44 million concurrent viewers. Platforms like Twitch, launched in 2011, have also played a crucial role; by 2020, Twitch amassed over 140 million monthly active users, highlighting the growing appeal of esports and gaming broadcasts. Large tournaments, such as The International for “Dota 2”, have offered prize pools exceeding $30 million, showcasing the lucrative potential of the industry. As the years have passed, esports transitioned from a niche subculture to a global spectacle, backed by multi-million dollar sponsorships, professional teams, and players securing six to seven-figure contracts. Here is the list of highest paid esports players.

              Why is there a debate?

              The debate over whether esports can be classified as a “sport” stems from traditional definitions and perceptions of what constitutes athletic competition. Conventional sports often emphasize physical prowess, training, and agility, whereas esports primarily involves mental acuity, strategic planning, and quick reflexes, but in a more sedentary setting. Detractors argue that the lack of intense physical activity means esports shouldn’t be placed in the same category as traditional sports. However, proponents counter this by highlighting the rigorous training, discipline, team coordination, and competitive nature of esports, which mirror many aspects of traditional sports. Moreover, just as chess and other mind sports have been recognized for their competitive and strategic elements, many believe esports should be similarly acknowledged. The debate also touches on broader issues of cultural acceptance and the evolution of entertainment and competition in the digital age.

              Similarities are uncanny

              Obviously, we believe that Esports is a sport and should be recognised as such, but let’s look at some examples of why this might be the case:

              1. Physical Demands: Esports requires hand-eye coordination, timing, and quick reflexes, with some games demanding physical endurance.
              2. Mental Rigor: Players employ strategy, quick decision-making, and adaptability, much like traditional sports.
              3. Training: Pro players have intensive training schedules, often paralleling the dedication of traditional athletes.
              4. Teamwork: Many esports titles necessitate high-level team coordination and communication, similar to team-based sports.
              5. Organizational Structure: Esports boasts leagues, teams, coaches, rules, and official tournaments, resembling the infrastructure of established sports.
              6. Economic Influence: With its sponsorships, broadcasting rights, and advertising, esports mirrors the economic aspects of traditional sports.
              7. Global Appeal: International tournaments and fan bases in esports echo global sports events like the Olympics.
              8. Health Considerations: Esports players face physical and mental health challenges, highlighting the need for similar support structures as in other sports.
              9. Cultural Shift: The rise of digital entertainment is redefining traditional notions of sport, placing esports at this evolution’s center.

              Devil is in the detail

              Now, let’s play devil’s advocate and see what arguments are there against calling Esports a real Sport

              1. Physical Activity: Esports lacks the cardiovascular exertion typical of traditional sports.
              2. Digital vs. Physical: Competing in a virtual environment differs from a physical field or court. (This by the way is changing rapidly with the growing popularity of gaming arenas and academies where players have a physical place to play and train)
              3. Traditional Views: Esports may not align with longstanding definitions of sports rooted in physical activity and outdoor elements.
              4. Health Concerns: The sedentary nature of esports raises potential health risks like obesity and eye strain.
              5. Mental Over Physical: Esports emphasizes mental strategy more than physical athleticism, likening it to chess or poker.
              6. Cultural Resistance: Older generations may not view competitive gaming as a sport due to unfamiliarity.
              7. Game Inconsistency: The variety of esports games, each with unique rules, may lack the uniformity of traditional sports.
              8. Continuous Play: Unlike traditional sports seasons, esports can be played year-round without breaks.

              Conclusion?

              Without a doubt, both sides of the fence have valid reasons to lean one way or the other. It all boils down to every individual’s personal answer to a question of: What is a Sport? If sport is a physical activity that must involve running, jumping or fighting with fists, then the answer is no, Esports cannot be considered a sport. Undoubtedly though, for most people, sport goes way beyond the sweating; it’s about the discipline, mental and physical resilience, competition, comradery and allegiance. Truly, watching or playing a sport should invoke our best qualities and Esports certainly hits the mark on this.

              What lies ahead

              In the coming years, esports is poised to become an even more integral part of the mainstream sporting ecosystem. The rapid evolution of technology and the proliferation of high-speed internet access worldwide have already set the stage for virtual competitions to be just as exhilarating and engaging as traditional sports. With younger generations growing up with video games as a fundamental part of their recreational activities, the audience for esports continues to expand. Moreover, significant investments from celebrities, traditional sports figures, and major corporations underscore the sector’s potential for exponential growth. Cities are now vying to build dedicated esports arenas, and universities are offering scholarships for top-tier gaming talent, mirroring the pathways established for athletes in traditional sports. As global viewership continues to rise and the production quality of esports events reaches new heights, it won’t be long before esports stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the most celebrated sports in the world, merging the lines between digital athleticism and physical prowess.

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                8 Ways To Support Your Child’s Gaming Passion

                According to a report by Newzoo, there were 2.69 billion gamers in the world by the end of 2020, with a significant portion of that audience being made up of younger individuals. Esports is becoming an increasingly popular hobby among children and teenagers, and as a parent, you want to learn how can you support your child’s gaming passion

                Understand the benefits of esports

                Esports can be a great way for your child to develop their hand-eye coordination, teamwork skills, and strategic thinking abilities. It can also provide them with opportunities to develop leadership skills and build a sense of community with other players.

                Familiarize yourself with the games your child is interested in

                Take some time to understand the games your child is playing, and learn about the different strategies and tactics involved in each one. This will help you connect with your child’s hobby and have meaningful conversations about it.

                Provide your child with the right equipment

                Esports require specialized equipment, such as gaming keyboards, mice, and monitors. Invest in good quality equipment for your child, and ensure it is suitable for their games. Luckily we have some of the best gaming equipment available which support high-quality gaming so why not checkout New Meta

                Set boundaries

                The amount of time a child is spending behind the screen is often a concern of many parents, so it’s important to set boundaries and talk with your child about finding a healthy balance between esports and other activities. Encourage them to take breaks, go outside, and engage in other activities such as physical exercises and pursuing other interests. Encourage your child to have a well-rounded lifestyle and set limits on screen time to ensure they are engaging in a variety of activities. An even better way to manage their time gaming is by enrolling them into an Esports Academy

                Help your child find a community

                Esports can be a solitary hobby, so help your child find a community of like-minded players. Training sessions like the one we hold help your child be part of a community where they can learn from peers and develop friendships. 

                Support your child’s goals

                Just like any other hobby, esports requires practice and dedication. Support your child’s goals and encourage them to keep improving. Help them find resources, such as tutorials and training videos, to improve their skills.

                Encourage good sportsmanship

                While esports can be competitive, it’s important to emphasize the importance of good sportsmanship and respectful behavior toward other players. Encourage your child to be gracious in both victory and defeat and to treat other players with kindness and respect. This can not only improve their gaming experience but also foster important life skills that they can apply outside of gaming. 

                Attend esports events with your child

                Esports events can be a great way for your child to connect with the larger gaming community and learn about new games and strategies. Attend events with your child and learn more about the world of esports together.

                As a parent, nobody knows better what’s important for your kids. However, older generations are often quick to ignore things they were pre-conditioned to think are a “waste of time”, despite the fact that most research into the topic points to the opposite. Even a short google search will unveil that Esports offers unique benefits to your child’s development and parents that support their child’s gaming passion often find that it spurs their mental growth and brings them closer together.

                Metalions Esports Academy offers free trial classes. Register here

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                  Education and Gaming: Integrating Esports into Extra-Curricular Activities

                  Esports, or electronic sports, has emerged as a rapidly growing extracurricular activity in Secondary education. It is now considered a state-sanctioned path for building science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills, as well as fostering social-emotional development. By incorporating esports into schools, student engagement and inclusivity are increased, offering a valuable opportunity for students. Many schools in the UK are currently looking at ways to incorporate Esports into their after-school program or as a BTEC course with many accredited courses coming in the future no doubt. In the meantime, many private academies have started to emerge, offering esports as an after-school program like Metalions Academy, which offers a structured program for kids aged 6-16 through live coaching and competition

                  What is Esports?

                  But what exactly is esports? It is a subcategory of the gaming industry where teams compete in organized video gaming competitions, primarily online. Just like traditional team sports, esports requires practice, skill-building, and dedication. Players must rely on quick problem-solving, team collaboration, fast reaction times, and effective communication to succeed. Esports teams and the sport itself have gained a substantial fanbase, with spectators coming together to support and watch participants as they play.

                  Several factors have contributed to the rise in interest and participation in organized esports. Advances in computing power, performance, graphics, and internet connectivity have made gameplay more immersive and interactive. Popular games like League of Legends and Valorant have significantly contributed to the growing popularity of esports. Streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube allow players to broadcast their gameplay, attracting a wider audience.

                  Today, esports is not limited to professional competitions but has expanded to include collegiate and secondary education levels, particularly in grades 6 to 12. Some primary schools have also started introducing age-appropriate esports, utilizing games like Minecraft and Rocket League.

                  Esports as an extra-curricular activity

                  Offering esports as a school-based activity might raise questions, but research on game-based learning and extracurricular participation has demonstrated numerous cognitive, behavioral, and social benefits. These include increased self-esteem, improved focus in class, enhanced participation, engagement, and attendance, as well as improved academic performance.

                  Most students already engage in recreational video gaming, making the formation of school-sponsored extracurricular esports teams and leagues a natural extension of their existing interests. By participating in esports, students can enjoy their favorite games while simultaneously developing valuable skills and benefiting socially and emotionally.

                  Esports Academy - Media 12

                  Esports offers a wide range of benefits, including strategic and analytical skills, as students make character selections, analyze opponents, and devise strategies to win. They learn how to position characters within the game’s environment, developing strategic knowledge and applying concepts from game theory. Students also enhance their problem-solving abilities as they respond to unexpected situations and obstacles.

                  Other benefits

                  Engaging in esports provides students with hands-on exposure to computers, leading to a better understanding of computer functionality and the impact of different components on performance and gameplay. Moreover, organizing and participating in competitive events beyond gaming itself exposes students to valuable skills in event coordination, project management, and broadcast engineering. These technical and organizational skills can be applied in various fields outside of esports.

                  Esports leagues sponsored by schools promote positive interactions, teamwork, communication skills, leadership development, and a sense of belonging among students. One of the remarkable aspects of school-sponsored esports is its inclusivity, allowing students of all skill levels, physical abilities, gender identities, and ages to participate. The focus is on fostering teamwork and shared enjoyment of the game.

                  Whether a student aims to become a competitive gamer or not, there are various roles they can assume within the team, such as shoutcasting (providing play-by-play commentating during games), technical setup assistance, managing team statistics, participating in practices, or building school support and spirit. Students also learn how to create a positive gaming environment as they venture outside of school to play online, whether it is engaging with peers, practicing

                  If you are asking yours where to start, we at Metalions Academy offers free trial classes for those looking to experience Esports in Education in the real world. You can learn more about the academy here

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