While most college athletes saw their seasons shut down as the novel coronavirus spread this spring and summer, esports players at the United States Military Academy marched on.
Using customized hardware, West Point’s new competitive video gaming club was able to play an exhibition match in the spring against the Army’s esports team — which the service uses as a recruiting tool — and also competed in tournaments against Oklahoma State University and the University of Mississippi.
“The cool thing about esports is that you can do it anywhere,” says Colin Jones, a rising junior and cadet in charge of the Army West Point eSports Club.
West Point esports launched in January and has built a steadily growing cadre of cadet players and fans. Competitive players do their gaming on Dell Precision 3630 machines running Intel Core i7, with 32 gigabytes of RAM and 1-terabyte solid-state drives, supported by Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000 graphics capabilities.
Technology rose to the fore when the cadets competed from home this spring. With remote tournament play, “we really tested what was possible,” says Victor Castro, deputy director of the West Point Simulation Center.