The Howard University gaming community is celebrating a new achievement.

The Hilltop reports Howard University’s Call of Duty team, Cold Steel, was awarded $80,000 as champions in the 2023 Mountain Dew Real Change esports tournament.

“Being on the team has been great. We have a lot of team spirit and pride in what we do. It feels good to be seen and noticed. Outside of that, I love the environment that the team creates,” Reese Samuel, a member of Cold Steel, said, according to The Hilltop.

The tournament was created to empower Black entrepreneurs and is supported by Cxmmunity Media, a media-tech company building digital assets with a mission to future-proof diversity in gaming, as AfroTech previously told you.

“Howard’s success was no surprise to me. The team bought in immediately,” said Christopher Peay, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Cxmmunity, the outlet reports.

“The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge is an extension of MTN DEW’s commitment to investing and uplifting Black entrepreneurs through the MTN DEW Real Change Opportunity Fund, which launched in 2021. The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge supported Black gamers at HBCUs by sponsoring a nationwide HBCU esports tournament, in partnership with CXMMUNITY,” a Mountain Dew representative told The Hilltop News.

For Cold Steel, their win signals the importance of providing HBCUs with resources to thrive in the esports sector. During the team’s first competition, which was a Fortnite tournament, they had a limited gaming setup.

“We had no proper system setups, no proper equipment. We were even on dorm Wi-Fi,” Deante Taylor, a player on Cold Steel, recalled.

However, they were put in good hands after a partnership was formed between Cxmmunity, Verizon, and Howard University, which led to the establishment of an esports lab.

Editorial Note: This piece has been updated since initially published.