The ALA 2017 conference in Chicago this year was our first venture into the conference life. We wanted to thank all those that stopped by and gave us a moment of their time to hear about the exciting products we are making. It was truly a fun and memorable experience.
Community and university libraries are another area that have recently embraced game consoles. With the digital age and the availability of online of information, libraries are now expanding their services to include game rooms. These are being added to provide video game and educational experiences for all ages even the young at heart.
Libraries that have added video games have experienced interesting trends in that teenagers are starting to come to the library in record numbers. While they have experienced increased participation “books are being checked out at a rate that exceeds what it was before the gamers arrived.” Perhaps video games are the gateway to knowledge for a whole new generation similar to how movies and music were for generations before. The benefit is twofold: libraries experience greater traffic in and out of their location, while at the same time books are available to a new audience that may not have experienced how truly great a library can be.
Techsoupforlibraries.org has written an article about gaming in libraries that shows the benefits of having video games in libraries. They stated the following points in the article “Gaming in Libraries” on their site
- Gaming events can:
- Draw teens and their parents to the library. For years librarians have worried that they’re “losing a generation.” Teens have been visiting the library less often and checking out fewer books as their information and entertainment options increased. There’s increasing evidence that gaming events in the library will increase circulation and reading among young adults.
- Create a connection between young adults and library staff. Teens (and adults) are more likely to ask for help from someone they know.
- Help teens develop teamwork and organizational skills. A lot of libraries involve teens in planning and monitoring their game nights. Teens help select the games, market the events, set up equipment, enforce time limits and so on. Furthermore, the games themselves often require teamwork and cooperative problem-solving.
- Video games can be beneficial. There’s no universal consensus on this controversial issue, but there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that well-designed games improve fluid intelligence and one’s ability to solve complicated, multifaceted problems.
Sandy Farmer from the Houston Public Library told NPR:
“It’s a primary part of our service that we offer, and it results in a 15- to 20-percent increase in the circulation of books.” In other words, more video games in the library means more books getting checked out. “The kids and the teens spend more time here,” Farmer says. “Families come — their parents have things to do on the computers, because a lot of the families don’t have computer access at home, so the kids have some things to do and while they’re here. They find out, ‘There’s Superman. I can read Superman.” “I have a room full of teenage boys that are happy, and the library is the coolest place they know,” she says. “And video games are a part of that.”
If you haven’t heard about your local collegiate national “E-Sports” champion that might be changing soon. In the near future college level, electronic sports (Video Games) are going to become much more familiar to the general public. Major campuses from Harvard to Florida State are starting to offer major video game competitions which were mostly in the past limited to those attending small local colleges.
With more than 10,000 students across the country participating in E-Sports leagues these “athletes” are now being recognized and receiving accolades on campus’s but are also receiving help with their tuition by their college. The New York Times reported that “Winning a big tournament can sometimes earn players several years’ worth of tuition money.” Many of the elite gaming companies are now offering scholarship prizes, support, as well as a launching platform for the next generation of college gamers to develop on. These elite game companies alongside collegiate institutions are seeing the power of video gaming as a unique opportunity to reach otherwise untapped audiences because of the overall national popularity of E-Sports. Is this a possible sign of the future?
Some members of college administrations may see this as a passing fad, while others are quick to point out and compare the rise of traditional college sports in the 1940’s to that of E-Sports in contemporary times. Not only are software manufacturers paying attention to this rise but also hardware manufacturers because without them there is no platform to play or build off of. This has created a whole necessary market which consists of ergonomic hardware, updated software, and even customized gaming consoles.
One area that is important if colleges are going to expand their foot print for E-Sports is the security of devices for public spaces. With game rooms being designed and included into new projects, existing resident halls or student unions one area of need are theft deterrent products that will safe guard the expensive devices placed in those areas. One company that has designed game rooms and produced anti-theft products for over 10 years is Secure Entertainment. Secure Entertainment has provided products for the military, colleges, cruise ship lines, libraries, charity groups like Ronald McDonald House and St Jude’s Hospital, dentists/doctors offices and many more varied establishments. Secure Entertainment can provide devices to safe guard antique video game products to the newest systems as they become available.