The Ashland University esports program will be adding Fortnite Battle Royale to its title offerings beginning in the fall of 2018 it was announced by head coach Josh Buchanan on Wednesday (April 18).
The AU esports team will be the first known collegiate esports program in the country to add the title to its official offerings.
Fortnite has grown enormously in popularity since its release last year. According to a northjersey.com piece, the game has amassed millions of players and followers, many of them teenagers. More than 3.4 million people played the game simultaneously last month.
"Fortnite appeals to both the core and casual gaming audience," said Buchanan. "We're excited to provide this platform for gamers who want to showcase their skills in a more competitive space. Fortnite facilitates an environment that allows players to get creative, innovate and show off their mastery of their skills."
Ashland's esports team, which will begin competition next fall, will arrange four-player teams that practice regularly and compete together.
AU is at the forefront in adding Fortnite to its offerings, which already include League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League.
Eventually, Buchanan's hope is that collegiate leagues will be set up for official Fortnite competitions.
"The growth of Fortnite has been astounding to witness and getting players into structured practices ahead of the launch of a collegiate league will be extremely beneficial to our program," said Buchanan.
The Eagles will announce plans to conduct open tryouts for Fortnite players for next school year.
Anyone with interest in joining the Ashland University esports team is encouraged to fill out the form linked here and Buchanan will be in contact.
The esports program is offering scholarships in esports for up to $4,000 based on player skill level and academic requirements.
A gaming center is planned for the lower level of the library with construction expected to start later this month. The gaming center will feature 25 gaming stations, complete with gaming PCs, accessories and peripherals. Ashland has secured sponsorships with gaming chair provider, OPSEAT, and mousepad provider, Sloth Esports.