The hype was growing within the walls of AHS leading up to the debut date of the Esports club earlier this month.
Ultimately, there was no debut of the Esports club. In fact, the after school activity will have to be delayed until the next school year.
This is because of the new decision by Fairfax County Public Schools to ban Fortnite from all high school esports events.
FCPS made this decision right after Kentucky schools made similar rules for their students.
Kentucky schools made this decision based on the agreement that Fortnite is too violent to allow students to play the game on school grounds.
The company that outsources and provides the game was also banned.
The Kentucky High School Athletics Association stated that “there is no place for shooter games in schools,” as reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“This doesn’t quite come as a complete surprise for me, since video games have always had a bad reputation to some people, especially adults.” senior Ryan Charest said.
Fortnite is a cartoonish approach TPS (third-person shooter), battle-royale game.
The game features no gore and incorporates quirky, brightly natured characters.
In Fortnite, players can either join a group or play alone, surviving through skirmishes, eliminating other players with firearms until their team or themselves becomes the last one standing.
PlayVS, which FCPS and many other schools contracted for their esport program, added Fortnite without authorization.
This action without authorization most likely added more fuel to the flame, and thus resulted in the delay of Annandale’s proposed Esports Club.
“Within a day that this article had come out, FCPS followed suit and immediately barred the company,” Elliot Merker, who would have been the club’s sponsor, said.
PlayVS is a private, California based company that gives high school students all over the United States the chance to compete in esports events.
They established the live streams, the venues, and the organization of tournaments.
Founded in 2018, by Delane Parnell, the company organizes League of Legends, Smite, and Rocket League tournaments, with its latest addition being Fortnite.
“I think it’s kind of strange that they make a case against Fortnite, but ignores the other games like League of Legends and Smite,” senior Mitchell Eggert said. “All of them still have violent aspects within their gameplay.”
PlayVS organizes each school year to have two competition seasons. The first fall season lasts from October to January.
The second spring season lasts from February to May. Each season has an initial two weeks of preseason, afterward by eight weeks long regular season, followed by the playoffs. At the end of each season, one team will receive the title of champion.
“We had a full roster, a full seven teams worth of students ready to go,” Merker said. “That makes it 21 students that were selected, that signed up, and the day before the registration date, FCPS announced that we are not allowed to participate.”
Aside from PlayVS’s lack of concern for authorizations, there has been a long-running concern over school shootings that many officials arbitrarily linked to violent games featuring guns.
Games like CS: GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), PUBG (Player’s Unknown Battleground), alongside the Call of Duty, and Battlefield franchise is looked upon as inspiring such violent acts and would have little chance to be accepted into school organized esports tournaments.
“This disappointment is not only from the students but there is actual school staff that were very excited about this, myself included,” Merker said. “It’s sad to say it, but if the county made a decision, then it is what it is.”