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Hof University eSports (HUe) launched: A new home for gamers at the university!

Interest in eSports is growing enormously. The competitions of digital sports are also attracting an ever wider audience in Germany, and the sales of the associated and highly profitable industry have long been in the billions worldwide. With Hof University eSports (HUe), an initiative has now been founded at Hof University of Applied Sciences, which gives gamers among the students a platform for exercising their common passion. In addition to the hours spent at the PC, all kinds of social activities are also offered.

Hof University eSports founder Vincent Tischler (left) and his team: Barbara “Ari” Burghof (social media) and Emanuel “Richy” Hofer (League of Legends coach); Image: HUe;

“They’re all just baller games that make people unnecessarily aggressive!” – Vincent Tischler, 20 years old and currently a student in the fifth semester of media informatics, knows enough of such prejudices when he talks to others about his passion. But this by no means makes him aggressive. Friendly and calm, he, the founder of the new eSports initiative at Hof University, explains the fascination of his hobby

In digital sports, you’re not dependent on a referee, nor on unalterable physical requirements. The game doesn’t care whether you’re tall, short, fat, strong or lanky – speed and skill are the only things that count.”

Vincent Tischler, HUe founder

The Gameboy as a “pacifier substitute”

He himself came into contact with the games industry at a very early age: “My parents had an electronics store in Diefurt an der Altmühl. I played around with devices there from an early age. And at some point – I was just one and a half years old – there was an old Gameboy there that quickly fascinated me and became a kind of pacifier substitute for me.” Finally, as a teenager, he joined the gamer scene more and more and discovered, among other things, the enormous technical possibilities in this field again and again at the Gamescom games fair.

Partner university as a role model

But it was still a long way to go before he founded his own eSports department at Hof University. “It wasn’t until an online exchange with our partner university Pennsylvania State (PSU) as part of the Web Development course that I realized how big the topic could become here, too, if you approached it consistently. At PSU, there are huge departments for eSports and professional management. I started by reading up on the subject of the eSports university league and finding out what the eSports scene in the region was like,” says Vincent Tischler. When an inquiry with the management of the Hof University of Applied Sciences finally revealed that there were currently no corresponding initiatives, the decision was made:

Added value for university recognized

Vincent Tischler approached his lecturers about the topic and began to develop a concept: “I am particularly grateful for the help of Prof. Dr. Sven Rill, Prof. Dr. Andrej Bachmann and Prof. Karl-Friedrich Buhl – they provided enormous support when I brought the topic before the Faculty Council for Computer Science and later also before the university management,” says Tischler. Although the topic was discussed controversially in all committees, in the end an added value was recognized and there was broad approval for the foundation of the initiative under the umbrella of Hof University of Applied Sciences. Vincent Tischler then immediately began to address the students – with emails, flyers, in person and also via the Moodle platform. In the end, around 150 interested people contacted him – an impressive number

Active in two leagues

This has now resulted in two teams of around 30 active eSports players, who have recently started playing in the German Uniliga, the biggest league for universities and colleges, under the name “Hof University eSports HUe”. The Uniliga itself is divided into individual leagues for the respective computer games: “Our players are currently active in both League of Legends and Rocket League. But there are also already some interested parties for other games, including Fifa “, explains the HUe founder. In each league, responsible organizational positions also had to be filled with the jobs for department manager and team captain.

“League of Legends” and “Rocket League” are the first two games in which Hofer game fans are involved in the German university league; Image: HUe;

Games take place at home

The games in the eSports leagues do not take place on fixed dates, as is usually the case with club sports. Rather, the teams arrange among themselves in advance to find suitable times for the sporting competition. “Most of the time, however, one game has to be played per week in order to keep the performances comparable. At the top of the table is the team with the best winning coefficient and there are promoted, relegated and also relegation matches,” explains Vincent Tischler. The games are currently not played at the Hof University of Applied Sciences, but on home equipment. This has the advantage of being able to use the usual equipment on which the players are best trained. However, there are plans to include the university’s multimedia lab in the future – talks on this are underway.

Hope for “derby” with Bayreuth

Although they started as newcomers to team sports, the first results of the Hofer gamers are more than remarkable: The majority of the games have been won so far and there is reason to hope that the Hofer team could achieve promotion already in the first season. There is also a certain incentive: “Not only in normal soccer, but also in eSports, there is a certain rivalry with neighboring cities.” And further

Bayreuth, for example, is very well positioned and has a good infrastructure. We definitely want to catch up here in the medium term and stand up to Bayreuth. Regular derbies between Hof and Bayreuth would be the salt in the soup.”

Vincent Tischler, HUe founder

That’s why they now also organize tournaments and try to consistently learn and work their way up.

Although the majority of active players are still male, more and more young women are also finding interest in eSports; Image: HUe;

Lively club life beyond the joystick

In addition to normal gaming operations, those responsible at Hof University eSports also place great importance on the social component of the initiative – regular get-togethers in local restaurants or joint watch parties of major eSports events are therefore also planned: “Of course, that’s exactly what it’s all about: in our group, circles of friends are formed for the whole study program and we create contacts. This is particularly interesting for freshmen or third-year students who, due to the pandemic, have hardly heard anything from Hof or their fellow students so far,” Vincent Tischler is convinced.

Anyone who is now interested in the new initiative can get in touch via email: esports@hof-university.de or sign up for the Moodle course.

Useful links

Rainer Krauß

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