Microsoft software engineer Daniel Jost has found a way to take on his peers at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google in friendly fashion — through video game competition.
His team is the one to beat when it comes to using jet-powered cars to score points by knocking giant balls, soccer-style, into nets on virtual fields in Rocket League tournaments organized by the Corporate Esports Association (CEA).
“It feels similar to the company bowling or soccer league, it’s just being done in front of a computer screen instead of meeting at the bowling alley every Friday,” said Jost.
Matches are streamed online at an array of platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, with bragging rights and charity dollars on the line.
Like video-game play overall, interest in company team matches has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic as real-world options from soccer to softball stopped being viable.
“It really is the corporate sports leagues in just a very slightly different form,” said Brad Tenenholtz, a cybersecurity industry veteran and co-founder in 2018 of the association with Terence Southard, a scientist with Jeff Bezos’s space exploration endeavor Blue Origin.
Company workers are free to form teams and sign up to compete in leagues set up by the CEA, with registration fees going to a charity chosen by the victors.
“My dad works at a steel mill in Cincinnati, Ohio, and plays on his corporate softball team,” CEA chief Tenenholtz said.
“No one is going to fly him to another city for some kind of national competition, but with eSports