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Setup Your Esports Lab
Updated over a week ago

Setting up an esports lab can look different for everyone based on what’s available to you and your school district. We have compiled a detailed list of the minimum requirements and some optional features for a comfortable esports lab setup. For your Network and Firewall setups, please contact your School IT Department. For resources to federal grants and local businesses offering fundraising for school esports, follow our Fundraising Guide.

Tip: Click each table heading to learn more below:

Different titles use different consoles. Some use a handheld Switch while others may use a PC or a PS5. Learn more in your title’s IT Checklist!

Download your esport(s) and have players connect their gamer profiles to their PlayVS accounts. Some titles require an EPIC games account, for example.

School IT Departments gain access to online networks with specific port updates needed for esport titles. Find your esport’s Network inclusion list and share with your IT Dept.

Unblock the games in the internet filter and firewall with your IT Dept.You'll need them to help you get setup! Our detailed lists are provided in our Hardware-Network Specifications.


Hardware

Hardware Details:

  1. Inventory Checklist: Make a copy of this student interest survey to gauge how many students are interested in an esports club and which esport titles are most desirable at your school. You will need different equipment for different titles, based on our Game Title Overview and IT Checklist.

  2. Gaming PCs and/or Consoles: Choose platform components based on the game titles you plan to play with our Game Title Overview. For gaming PCs, select those with processors, graphics cards, and sufficient RAM (16GB reommended) for smooth gameplay.

  3. Gaming Monitors: High refresh rate monitors (144Hz or higher) with low input lag are essential for competitive gaming. Consider monitors with features like G-Sync or FreeSync for smoother visuals.

  4. Gaming Peripherals: Invest in quality gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, controllers and other peripherals suitable for the games you'll be playing. Look for features like low-latency wireless connectivity, programmable buttons, and ergonomic design.

  5. Networking Equipment: Set up a high-speed wired network infrastructure with gigabit switches and routers to ensure low-latency and stable connections for online gaming. Wireless is NOT recommended for a seamless experience.

  6. Dedicated Space: Set up a dedicated space for the esports lab, ensuring adequate ventilation, temperature control, lighting, power, and ergonomic seating arrangements.

  7. Soundproofing: Consider soundproofing measures to minimize distractions and enhance audio quality for streaming or communication. (Optional)

  8. Ergonomics: Watch these videos to aim for a comfortable gaming station setup and healthy gaming posture.

Software

Software Details:

  1. Operating System: Windows is the most popular choice for PC gaming.

  2. Game Titles: Ensure you have the necessary game titles installed and updated on all gaming PCs and consoles. For download instructions, use the “What Is…” title-specific articles under Game Rules.

  3. Game Launchers/Platforms: Install any required game launchers or platforms like Steam, Battle.net, or the Epic Games Store and connect them to your PlayVS account.

  4. Optimization Tools: Use tools like GPU drivers, game boosters, and system optimizers to ensure optimal performance. (Optional)

  5. Communication Tools: Install voice communication software like Discord or TeamSpeak for team coordination during gameplay. (Optional)

Networking Setup (IT Support Required)

Networking Setup Details for IT:

  1. High-Speed Internet Connection: Ensure you have a fast and reliable internet connection to support low-latency online gaming and streaming. Contact your school’s IT Department, describe which game titles are needed, and share our detailed hardware-network inclusion list here.

  2. Wired Connections: Use Cat6 or higher Ethernet cables for wired connections between gaming PCs, switches, and routers to minimize latency and packet loss.

  3. Network Switch: Invest in a high-performance, managed network switch to connect all the gaming PCs, servers, and other network devices. (Optional)

  4. Quality of Service (QoS): Configure QoS settings on your router to prioritize gaming and streaming traffic over other internet usage for optimal performance. (Optional)

Important: For proper network setup and firewall configuration, all teams must communicate with their school IT Departments.

Firewall Configuration (IT Support Required)

Firewall Configuration Details for IT:

  1. Network Mapping: Plan and document your network topology, including IP address schemes, VLAN configurations, and port forwarding rules for easy maintenance and troubleshooting.

  2. Hardware Firewall: Implement a dedicated hardware firewall appliance or a firewall-enabled router to secure your network and protect against cyber threats.

  3. Port Forwarding: Configure port forwarding rules on your firewall to allow incoming connections for online gaming and streaming, ensuring proper communication between gaming clients and servers.

  4. Firewall Rules: Set up firewall rules to restrict unnecessary inbound and outbound traffic, allowing only the required ports and protocols for gaming, streaming, and essential services. Each game title has specific rules.

  5. Network Segmentation: Consider segmenting your network into different zones (e.g., gaming, streaming, management) using VLANs or separate physical networks for better security and traffic isolation. (Optional)

  6. Intrusion Detection/Prevention: Enable intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS) on your firewall to monitor and mitigate potential cyber threats. (Optional)

  7. Virtual Private Network (VPN): Implement a VPN solution for secure remote access to the esports lab network, allowing team members or staff to connect securely from outside locations. (Optional)

  8. Firewall Logging and Monitoring: Configure firewall logging and regularly monitor logs for any suspicious activity or potential security breaches. (Optional)

Important: For proper network setup and firewall configuration, all teams must communicate with their school IT Departments. Ensure that your network and firewall configurations comply with any relevant regulations or policies, such as those related to data privacy, content filtering, or cybersecurity best practices. Regular maintenance, updates, and security audits are also recommended to keep your esports lab network secure and optimized for performance.

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