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'It's A Huge Step Forward': Stockton University Embraces Esports As Full-Fledged Club Sport

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) -- Whether at work or play, some things are just better when you're part of a team -- and that's exactly who these Stockton University students are.

"We are an esports team and we are here to play games together and just promote the school," student Chris Pankwytch said.

Esports, for those who don't know, is essentially competitive video gaming.

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At Stockton, a new team is forming as part of the club sports program within the athletic department, and they'll be competing against other schools in the Eastern Athletic Conference.

"It's a huge step forward in getting some recognition for it, because 10 years ago, if you heard somebody was competitively playing video games, you'd think they're just sitting in their mother's basement," student Alex Rodriguez said.

Now, they'll have their own esports lab on campus, featuring high-performance computers, which the team is assembling.

While the new esports Lab will be the headquarters for the new team at Stockton, the room will be open 24/7 to all students who may have an interest in competitive and social gaming.

"Students that may not play a traditional sport but may be interested in esports and gaming -- it really gives them an avenue to be competitive but also work together as a team which we're really excited about," Stockton University Chief Information Officer Scott Huston said.

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"People think that video games are a distraction, especially from academics, so a school promoting video games is really important because they view it as an enrichment for all the students because it's something they enjoy," student Diana Marinelli said.

The team will eventually get uniforms and travel for tournaments. Competitions start next semester at Stockton.

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