PlayVS Announces Varsity, Recreational System for High School Esports, Expands to Overwatch
PlayVS has announced that it is expanding its high school offerings to two different league systems: Varsity and recreational. Blizzard’s Overwatch joins the company’s recreational offerings, which include Rocket League, League of Legends, Smite, and Fortnite. League of Legends and Rocket League make up PlayVS’ Varsity offerings. This means that the system is really only missing titles from Valve at this point from major team esports developers.
“Esports is at a pivotal moment as its popularity is growing exponentially, especially as students need creative, productive and competitive outlets during COVID-19,” said Delane Parnell, Founder and CEO at PlayVS. “We’re thrilled to be expanding our high school offerings so that students can participate and compete in esports at multiple levels. Our team is also excited to welcome new and returning players this fall, whether from their schools or at home. Either way, we’re ready for them!”
Notably, PlayVS has said that they won’t be expanding their program to include 1v1 titles, with an oddly phrased statement in our interview with them.
“PlayVS focuses on team-based games since esports is inherently a team sport, so we don’t have plans for 1v1 game structure at this time,” Aakash Ranavat, PlayVS’ VP of Central Operations told Esports Talk.
Of course, some of the most widely played competitive games in the world are 1v1 titles, including fighting games, card games, and RTS titles. While fighting games have their issues online, card games and RTS titles like HEarthstone and Starcraft are published by Blizzard, so it’s odd to see that sort of attitude taken.
How will PlayVS’ new Varsity and leagues function?
PlayVS says that their new varsity leagues will be available in 23 states, and that their recreational leagues will allow for competition across all 50 states.
The company issued the following breakdown of how the State Championships will work. Oddly enough, the State championships do not feed into a National system, but that could be added in the future.
Varsity Leagues are in partnership with the NFHS and only available in 23 states, including California, where PlayVS has an association partnership. Today, all 23 states recognize Rocket League and League of Legends as Varsity esports with more to be added soon. Schools can build one Varsity team, per game, per school. Students in the Varsity League compete state-wide for State Championships.
Recreational Leagues are available across all 50 states, with the addition of D.C. and fully operated by PlayVS. Participating schools are able to build unlimited teams that compete for a Regional Championship for the following game titles: Overwatch, League of Legends, Fortnite, SMITE and Rocket League.
Schools in states partnered with PlayVS can participate in both Varsity and Recreational League on the PlayVS platform with one Varsity team per game and unlimited Recreational teams. In past seasons, 99% of schools have teams that participate in both Varsity and Recreational Leagues.
How will Overwatch specifically function?
PlayVS has stated that Overwatch specifically will only be available in recreational leagues, divided into regional divisions rather than by state.
“PlayVS is proud to be at the forefront of the esports insurgence and to be partnering with Blizzard to add Overwatch to our library of offerings for our new Recreational leagues,” added Parnell. “As a frequently requested game title among our players, Overwatch will offer a new kind of competition to players and we can’t wait to crown our first-ever Overwatch champions.”
Here’s how it all breaks down:
- High School Overwatch teams will only compete in PlayVS Recreational Leagues. Participants are placed in regional conferences based on geographic location
- Teams will be made up of six players. Schools can register an unlimited number of teams
- Top teams at the end of the season will advance to playoffs
- Fall regular season starts on October 15 and Overwatch will be played weekly on Wednesdays
- High Schools can now sign up and activate teams at PlayVS.com
To learn more about the new Varsity and recreational leagues, as well as the company’s decision to expand into Overwatch, check out our interview with PlayVS’ VP of Central Operations, Aakash Ranavat.