Overwatch Star’s Pro Gaming Or College Dilemma

By Ben Hamill - December 26 2019
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Jonathan Huffman finds himself faced with a dilemma that may well become the reality for many other teenagers in the near future. The 16-year-old from Chicago, USA, must decide whether to attend college or whether to become a pro gamer after graduating from high school.

Huffman may look like a typical teenage boy – and in many ways, he is exactly that. However, he also happens to be of the highest-ranked competitive video gamers in the world. His game of choice? Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s team-based multiplayer first-person shooter.

The game sees players, who can choose from more than 30 different characters or heroes, divided into teams. Those teams must either complete a task within a set amount of time, or they must claim and defend locations on a map. For many players, Overwatch is a bit of entertainment to enjoy in the evening or on weekends. For Huffman, it could be a ticket to an annual six-figure salary.

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Courted By Colleges

Harrisburg University, the University of Missouri, and other universities and colleges have reached out to Huffman with offers for scholarships. Depending on whether he decides on college and where he chooses to go, the young gamer could see anywhere between a few thousand dollars shaved off his tuition, and a full scholarship.

Huffman’s parents, Chris and Susan, prefer the idea of their son opting to go further his education before pursuing a career in professional eSports. This is not to say their son could not continue to work towards joining the top Overwatch league, but it does mean that a post-college pro gaming career could be short-lived.

The reason for this is that most eSports players reach their peak when they are still in their late teens and early 20s. This was starkly evident in the 2019 Overwatch League season, as players’ ages ranged between 18 and 28. To put it simply, by the time Huffman graduates from university, he would have only a few years of gaming before he is regarded as ‘over the hill’.

Contacted By Teams

As much as Huffman’s parents hope that their son will opt to go the college route, the young man seems to have his heart set on the Overwatch League. Speaking to interviewers, he said that his dream is to play on stage as part of the league one day.

Of course, for him, that is no mere pipe dream. Huffman has already been invited to try out for several teams from the minor-league level.

For now, though, Huffman cannot make any decisions other than to wait and see. He will remain in contact with coaches from Harrison’s eSports programme until he completes his high schooling, and he is likely to stay in touch with several other universities. As for his parents, their only hope is that their son makes a decision that gives him a solid start in his adult life.

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