This Company Is Bringing E-Sports to High Schools. To the Students Who Play, It’s Bringing a Life Line

February 8, 2019


After school on a recent Tuesday in the quiet town of Orange, Massachusetts, more than a dozen teenagers sit gazing intently at their computer monitors and tapping away at their keyboards. They’re playing the massively popular online game League of Legends. Every few seconds, they shout directions to each other. They let out occasional whoops and exasperated groans. It’s a scene similar to the one simultaneously playing out in thousands of living rooms across America.

Except they’re not in someone’s living room. They’re in a high school classroom. And they’re earning varsity letters.

This October, e-sports launched as an officially sanctioned high school activity in five states. In addition to Massachusetts, the games have already come to Rhode Island, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Georgia. Students stay after school with a teacher to hone their skills and, once a week, compete against other schools in the state. More states will follow when the next season begins this February.

A small startup in Santa Monica is making it all happen. PlayVS, a company founded in July 2017 that employs just 15 people, built the platform on which high school e-sports operates. It hosts and streams the matches, creates the schedules, and compiles the statistics.

For the schools that have participated in this initial season, PlayVS hasn’t just helped students play games and earn stats; in helping form e-sports teams at the high school level, the company has brought teens together around an activity that until recently wasn’t taken seriously–and in many places, still isn’t…

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