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How Twitch streaming service has helped a local e-sports team

A local e-sports team says "Twitch" has helped give gamers a platform to turn their hobbies into something more.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) — Some hobbies never really stay just hobbies.

"I started gaming about 15 years ago," said Stephen Arthur, an e-sports coach at ECPI University.

Like the old saying, "Do what you love", Arthur turned it into a career at ECPI University in Virginia Beach.

"We're one of the only colleges in the southeast to actually award scholarships to e-sports players," he said.

One of his players is Jonathan King, who has been gaming for as long as he can remember.

"I've always wanted to be on a team, so of course I took my chance to try out for a team and got on," said King.

Now, Jonathan is part of the ECPI University Rams, competing against other colleges around the country.

SEE ALSO: ECPI fields area's first e-sports collegiate team

The gaming landscape has changed a lot for both over the years, especially with the popularity of Twitch.TV, a livestream service.

Millions of people stream their gaming on the service, including widely popular gamers like Ninja.

"From your phone, computer, tablet, from anywhere, you can watch us practice. We will be streaming our official matches so you can watch us compete as well," said Arthur.

That's the thing they think makes Twitch so impactful; it's a whole new avenue for gamers at home to connect with others who they can learn from, or just enjoy watching, something Jonathan didn't have growing up and recently just got into.

"They're going to be watching the professional streamers, the professional gamers, as to how to play the games," said King.

"I think it is somewhat similar to watching Michael Jordan or one of these big basketball or football players actually be able to play their games live whenever," said Arthur.

With more tools and resources like Twitch, Arthur thinks it'll give kids more of an avenue to pursue gaming more seriously, just like his team members.

"Twitch has been a big factor of e-sports growth and of all of gaming's growth because it allows young people to watch these games that they already enjoy and take it to the next level," said Arthur. "One hundred percent, Twitch has given them a platform to succeed and to get popularity."

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