Use the University of Twente’s eSports Ladder to reach your potential employer during a round of gaming | Pages Da

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Using games to find your new potential employer or employee. It may not sound obvious – at least, that’s what I thought before I started working on this article – but now I know that the opposite is true. With the eSports scale, Guido Bruinsma (UT) hopes to strengthen the connection between students and companies in the region.

The world of competitive gaming has become a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2019, more than five thousand tournaments were organized worldwide with the participation of 28,000 players. And that’s just the tournaments that are played for prize money. It is expected that games will gain even more popularity over the next few years. However, many companies and institutions still do not take this trend seriously. This is not the case with the University of Twente (UT).

With almost all corporate sports competitions halted during the Covid19 pandemic, assistant professor at UT Guido Bruinsma is surprised that Dutch companies are not focusing on games. “The eSports movement is huge. In Silicon Valley, tech giants like Google and Apple have been playing against each other in tournaments since 2013, but in the Netherlands it was still not an issue. Although it is a very powerful, accessible and above all fun way to create networking. Through gaming you can do a double take nice and connecting people.”

Guido Bruinsma
Guido Bruinsma

Online gaming community

That’s why the assistant submitted a project proposal to his university in March 2020 for the eSports ladder: an online gaming platform and community where gamers – both students and employees – can connect with each other through games. This is a new way for the region to attract and retain talent. Two and a half years later, the eSports ladder is ready for official launch. Meanwhile, the ladder is now a start-up “with a very strong connection to the university and Kenispark Twente”, adds Bruinsma.

Contests, performances and challenges

On the platform, competitions are organized, players’ performances are monitored through a dashboard, and players can challenge each other on behalf of the company or university they are affiliated with. As such, players have a sense of honor that they must uphold. If gamers perform well, the organization they play for also rises in the leaderboards. The participants get to know each other through the games. There is also a forum where gamers can post messages.

The ladder helps facilitate competitions for different games, explains David Evers. As a student and project manager he was involved in the establishment of the ladder. “You can play difficult and classic ladder games, like League of Legends, but also games with an easier entry level, like Blobby Volley [a volleyball game, ed.]. We are also keen to bring in spectators to watch the league. They are interested in seeing the results and following their company or student team, for example.”

Are students really interested in this type of scale? “Absolutely,” Evers assures us. “If you manage to make friends in this environment, it’s really rewarding. It’s a casual way to meet new people.”

“A very interesting concept

Mark Bolthouse
Mark Bolthouse, Little Rocket

According to Mark Bolthaus, co-founder and CTO at Little Rocket (a data and business agency based in the Dutch city of Enschede), the business community is also excited. “We’re starting out, we want to help companies use data. So, we’re really interested in connecting with students. If you’re talking to people out of mutual interest, then it might be enough to click. Without seeing that person’s resume at the time. I think it’s really healthy”.

Bulthuis explains that posting a vacancy and then expecting to find the perfect candidate is no longer realistic these days. “With the tight job market, that’s a thing of the past. While it’s a very friendly way to get in touch. Moreover, the platform is a great way to get in touch with companies and other students. We’ve already talked to other companies about setting up a competition and organizing a mini-event. It allows us to share knowledge in a way Calm and fun.” Little Rocket also plans to set up an internal competition. “Therefore, it has two advantages – we can offer our employees a way to have some leisurely fun and also the opportunity to make connections with companies and students. Which makes it a very interesting concept.”

University of Twente: The eSports pioneer

The eSports scale is also a flagship topic for the research being carried out at UT around eSports. The university is a pioneer in the field of games. For example, it has had an eSports lab since 2019, where researchers study how to specialize in the world of eSports and what applications are needed to achieve this. They do this by analyzing the data of eSports players – reaction time, heart rate, insight – and the games themselves.

eSportslab UT
eSportslab University of Twente

The large gaming community at UT gathers, among other things, in the student gaming association Blueshell Esports. The official team of UT Esports – Esports Team Twente (ETT) – is one of the flagships of the university. “They are very successful, recently they became European champions in the League of Legends,” he notes.

Kenispark Twente

The presentation of the eSports ladder took place during the WirWar festival, an offline event at FC Twente’s Grolsch Veste stadium, where players of different games will get to compete against each other under the watchful eye of colleagues, students and other interested parties.

Initially, the software will be made available to UT students and companies located at Kennispark Twente. The next step is to plan an umbrella competition for all science parks and innovation districts in the Netherlands. Bruinsma: “Ultimately, we hope to bring on board larger and larger companies, including international companies. But first we want to make sure that we set it up properly at our university and at Kennispark.”

“Eventually, we hope to get bigger and bigger companies on board, including international companies. But first we want to make sure we set it up properly at our university and at Kennispark.”

Guido Bruinsma

For Kennispark Twente, the initiative adds value to the community in the science park. Kennispark is one of the top ten campuses in the Netherlands, has the University of Twente as a key knowledge driver and sees it as important to introduce talent to potential employers in Twente at an early stage. Connecting scientists, engineers and students within Twente’s high-tech community is central to all the projects the regional organization undertakes. And the municipality of Enschede, the hometown of the University of Twente, in turn has a strong foundation in creative technology from its own source. This initiative is a great example of that. “We really think that the platform can contribute to a more intense relationship between students and companies in the region,” Bruinsma concludes.


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