APS hopes to expand Esports, competitive video gaming

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Public Schools is pushing to expand it’s gaming league, with teams at every high school. The district got into the Esports craze last year. APS wants to expand it with better equipment and better facilities, hoping more students and teachers get involved.

“I think there’s a number of our kids who do play and it is social, but they might not put it out there,” said Dr. Richard Bowman who is the Chief Information and Strategy Officer at APS.

Bowman is talking about competitive video gaming. Esports has been taken up by schools across the nation, including Albuquerque. “I know that this is sort of a stereotype, but as a kid, I was like I want to be part of an Esports team,” said La Cueva Esports student Jacob Stewart.

APS said only a hundred students from eight of their high schools took part in the district’s new Esports league last year. Now, they’re looking to expand it.

“In the future, we are going to be looking at special computers,” said Dr. Bowman. “It’s not so much necessarily the hardware, the processor and the membrane, but really what we found out the kids would like maybe a different mouse, a different kind of keyboard or controllers and those are the things that really make a difference.”

Right now, APS students play these games on school computers in the library or a computer lab, but the district hopes in the future they’ll have their own designated place, even hoping to host state-wide competitions.

“It’s a great sport because I pull kids from every peer group in a school,” said Ryan. “I have athletes, I have academic champions, I have kids who have never joined a club before.”

The district wants each high school to form an Esports team, saying it gives students a chance to represent their school and be part of something bigger.

The NMAA approved games for Esports are League of Legends, Rocket League and Smite. The distrit said they’re making due with the equipment that they have right now for Esports, but if enough students get involved, that’s when they’ll be looking to upgrade, but that could get pricey. APS is also hoping teachers will get involved to become Esports coaches.

If your APS high school student wants to get involved in the program, email: esports@aps.edu

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