Students with the UC San Diego video game team, Triton Gaming, placed in an international championship, winning over $12,000 in scholarship money.
The Fiesta Bowl Overwatch National Championship at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona saw hundreds of teams from across the U.S. and Canada in February. Four teams secured the top spots: The University of Toronto, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC San San Diego.
Triton Gaming had six players competing. They tied for third place overall with the University of Toronto.
Each player from UC San Diego took home $1,750 in scholarship money from the competition victory.
“The atmosphere was a big stage, six players on each side with big screens and an audience,” said Cody Sargent, a senior at UC San Diego. “It was a lot of excitement! When a big play happens everyone has their clappers and it was a lot of energy in the room.”
Overwatch is a multiplayer online first-person shooter video game. Gamers in the compeition played it on Windows computers.
The team said their secret was working together, communicating well during games.
"You need a lot of reflexes," said Sargent. "You need to be cool calm and collected."
The six members beat out other teams to place in the finals over the course of 9 weeks.
UC Berkeley came in first place in the competition. UC Irvine took second place.
The stakes were high during the Overwatch championship: the tournament's top prize was more than $40,000 in scholarship money for the winning team.
The competition is part of the growing field of eSports, or organized, multiplayer video game competitions. Many of the players on these teams consider themselves to be athletes.
"A lot of properties that professional athletes have also need to be in professional eSports players," said Sargent. "Because they do need to be able to work in a competitive environment."
Overwatch was released by Blizzard Entertainment in May 2016 for Windows, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.