Esports are the next wave — and they’re about to be even bigger and more accessible thanks to PlayVS (which is pronounced “play versus”) receiving $15 million in Series A funding.
“In the beginning, our goal wasn’t even necessarily to advocate for video games,” says Delane Parnell, Founder of PlayVS, “We looked at the current landscape and realized there was a huge gap in the market. There are millions of amateur gamers out there who want to compete. The most important demographic within this segment is high schoolers. Until now, there was no way for them to actually compete. We are going to provide that venue in a supervised, safe environment that makes them part of something larger.”
PlayVS is an online portal that helps students, administrators and recruiters connect where matches are set and scheduled and statistics are tracked to help regulate high school esports. PlayVS began by partnering with the National Federation of High School Associations to build out the high school esports league and rules.
There are scholarships to college and pro teams for esports players, but the infrastructure for high school players to get exposure and scholarship offers doesn’t exist for esports. But PlayVS is changing that.
“We realized that esports offer kids really unique benefits,” Parnell says, “They encourage interest in computers and STEM education and offer a career path for students who are interested in things like game development, programming, illustration and more.”
This October will mark the inaugural season of PlayVS.
“We’re bringing organized esports to approximately five million students in 5,000 high schools across the country before eventually expanding nationwide,” Parnell says, “It’s exciting stuff to be a part of.”
We asked Parnell what the most rewarding part of PlayVS’s rise was, and he explained that it’s still on the horizon.
“The most rewarding part is still to come,” he says, “Obviously the Series A was a huge deal. The partnership with NFHS was also huge. But the most rewarding moment will come this fall when kids are actually wearing jerseys, competing, learning life skills and eventually celebrating as championships.”