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Coronavirus impacting the world of Esports

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Nearly every competitive sport we know is on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the case of Esports, it's still game on!

While they're used to playing together in person, players, teams and even coaches find themselves on their own just to continue their virtual experience on a daily basis.

Covid-19 is impacting more than just the real world, those involved in online competitions or Esports say they're impacted too.

"They think that a shutdown means they can go home and play from home like no big deal it's fine. I will say the initial impact and ripple affect after has been pretty tremendous." says Illinois Wesleyan University Esports Coach Callum Fletcher.

When it comes to stay-at-home orders the electronic gaming community is not immune. Gamers say the online world is witnessing a real life glitch.

"A lot of our collegiate leagues have been canceled, those that haven't been canceled has been suspended almost across the board. We've seen professional leagues go to stay at home leagues. These are leagues that are investing hundred of thousands if not millions into production, studios, talents the whole nine yards." adds Fletcher.

While one player says, "huge blow, huge blow, you can almost see the impact almost immediately."

Times like these are doubly challenging according to Willie Sprat. The Junior at Lincoln College serves as coach and player on the schools Esports team. Like many in his position, he says right now he's limited in what he can do away from the screen.

"For me personally it's the recruiting aspect, I had some collegiate athletes that I had planned to show around the school, that unfortunately i can't do that anymore. Obviously, we're in times where we can commute with our athletes, but recruiting is going to be a huge thing, that's just for a lot of institutions." says Willie Sprat.

"We have a luxury a lot of traditional sports don't have, a lot of our recruiting is done virtually, we don't necessarily have to go to their high school or go to their football games to watch in person." according to Fletcher.

As Esports arenas sit empty, some gamers say their experience isn't as good as it used to be due to the overwhelming demand for bandwidth.

"There's got to be a way to find the numbers of how many people are online this month, these past two weeks compared to two weeks ago." says Zach Skulte.

"You have to think everybody is home, it makes server instability very-very prevalent. It makes the game less enjoyable, so it's hard to practice playing games."

The online world, all waiting for the day their virtual reality returns to normal.

"I'm hoping when this is all said and done, we can get back to where we were. I think it is just going to take time, especially when this pandemic is over.

"It hurts, it sucks, you feel bad for the players but at the end of the day with what's going on right now I agree with all the decisions that these leagues are making. It's the right move we need to prioritize the safety and the well being of our students."

For now we just have to stay connected while staying at home.

Donnie Tillman

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