FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Video game competitions are big business, there are thousands of participants and millions of dollars in prize money.
Now, kids are getting in on the action too.
As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez explained, the new little league is not an athletic competition, but a sport just the same. Young video gamers lined up at a multiplex in Farmingdale, many were competing for the first time in a new e-sport called in-theatre gaming.
“They’ve got a big TV screen you can see everybody from,” Liam Langlen said.
In-theatre gaming gives new meaning to the big screen. It allows each player to see, not only what their own avatar or character is doing, but every other players’ as well.
“Sometimes it can be intense, like fighting monsters — whoosh!” Liam, 7, said as he whipped an imaginary sword through the air.
The young gamers try to build structures like volcanoes as they kill off opponents. The scoreboard lets them track how they’re doing.
‘It’s all wi-fi in the theatre. Kids come in, they literally log into our wi-fi which is created within the theatre itself,” Brett Morris explained.
The people running the video game competitions say interest from theatres has doubled over the past year.
“We’ve actually installed our in-game servers in over 100 theatres across the U.S. and now we’ve actually had our first event in Canada,” Morris said.
Sarah Morrison, 11, said she loves the friendly competition.
“You’re active, and talking to all your friends, and you’re socializing, and you’re not just laying around watching TV,” she said.
Her dad Joe said in-theatre gaming is a bit of escapism.
“It takes you to another world. It takes you out of your life for a bit. It’s kind of a fantasy that you can just kill zombies or be in the military,” he said.
Joann Neilsen said little league gaming has helped her son Johnny make friends.
“You get to have your family and your friend’s family socialize, converse, and get to talk to other people. You get to meet other people, which is really cool,” Joann’s son Johnny, 13, said.
There’s also a payoff for the video gamers, local winners go on to the National Championship and vie for a $15,000 college scholarship.
It costs $80 to join the four week competitions, and parents can watch for free.
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