A team from the Southampton Video Games and Esports Society (SVGE) at the University of Southampton has come second in the official esports competition of UK universities.
The SVGE members claimed their place in the British University Esports Championship (BUEC) 2020/21 after successfully battling it out with Staffordshire University to secure their place behind the overall winners, the University of Warwick. Overall, 397 players from Southampton took part.
SVGE is part of the Southampton University Students’ Union (SUSU) and has over 800 members who engage in a wide variety of gaming, from casual to competitive.
SVGE President, Andrew Davey said: “We are thrilled to have finished second in the whole of the UK and it is a testament to our society and naturally talented players that we outscored other universities who have dedicated esport facilities, as well as attractive esport scholarships and degrees. We like to think we are good at cultivating a community aspect to our teams that keeps people engaged within the society, so they want to keep playing with their friends and improve.”
In the 2020/21 season, BUEC saw over 1,700 teams from 100 universities compete across a number of esports titles. Esports has now overtaken football as the sport with the highest number of teams at British universities. Seeing considerable growth throughout the past year, BUEC is now one of Europe’s largest organised esports competitions.
BUEC is run by National Student Esports (NSE). Its Managing Director, Alex Coulson, said: “This year we have seen a record number of universities across the UK compete in the British University Esports Championship. The quality of play is more impressive than ever, but significantly, the motivation for most of the students to take part is a social one; making friendships at university is not always easy and even less so during lockdown. We’re proud to play a small part in helping students connect in a caring community of like-minded peers from across the country.”
Commenting on how lockdown and COVID-19 measures have impacted esports in the past year, Andrew Davey said: “The pandemic has fundamentally not changed competing in esports. If anything, it has made competition harder, with more people choosing to play in tournaments. Our freshers have been able to play, compete and socialise with their esport team online to a similar, if not greater level than they did pre-pandemic. The social aspect of esports is still very much available, even when in-person socialising wasn’t possible, the society was able to run game-specific events and other activities for all our members to get involved with.”
The BUEC season culminated with the spring finals, which ran for three days straight from 9th April – 11th April, with a mixture of close games and dominating performances from established teams in the university esports community.
SVGE also runs its own competition for 16 southern universities, ‘SouthLANder’ which, pandemic allowing, would normally finish on campus with a live grand final event. Members of the society commentate and produce the stream, as well as referee the tournament matches. This allows those interested in esports outside of playing in tournaments to have an opportunity to host and contribute to a live event.