Jesus College, the Oxford University Gaming and Esports Society (OUGES) and commercial partner AFK Group have launched the AFK Esports Suite.
This makes Jesus College the first Oxbridge college to open a dedicated esports facility.
The AFK Esports Suite is located in a renovated computer room in the Third Quad of Jesus College’s central Oxford site. The space renovations were completed by sustainable FM company, Pioneer FM, with their CEO, Mary-Jane Pettit, overseeing the design.
The partnership between AFK and Jesus College will run for an initial five years. An official launch event will take place on Tuesday December 12th 2023 – with tickets available at the bottom of this article.
It will be available to all members of OUGES, and enables gamers from across the university to train for, and participate in, competitive esports leagues with peers at other academic institutions. In addition, the space will also provide high-end computer facilities for students to participate in skills workshops on topics such as coding, CGI design and AI tech.
Talent and marketing agency AFK was founded by Oxford University alumnus Matthew Woods, a former streamer and MNM Gaming League of Legends player. AFK worked in collaboration with Jesus College and OUGES to facilitate commercial partnerships to support the launch of the suite.
As a result, it has been furnished with new equipment including 20 PCs, monitors and ergonomic furniture, which have been provided by co-partners NZXT, Scan Computers (which recently announced a partnership and tournament with NSE) and Viewsonic.
“The original vision for a dedicated space for esports at Oxford was to level the playing field for students from international backgrounds who were unable to transport all their gaming and esports equipment with them when beginning their studies here,” said Sameer Mazhar, former OUGES President, who developed the initial concept for a dedicated esports venue.
“Since then, the idea has evolved into what’s now a substantive esports suite. With some of the top University esports athletes attending Oxford, having a base to practice and grow together is an incredible opportunity. We are looking to elevate and showcase Oxford’s esports talent both within the UK and around the world. This space, a first for the university, will be a key asset for developing our activities and ambitions in the coming years.”
The new facility will also support wider digital skills training and development for current Jesus students, and the young people the College works with through its access programmes.
Jesus College Principal, Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, commented:
“We are hugely grateful to AFK, Viewsonic, Scan Computers and NZXT for their support of this initiative, and look forward to developing a strong collaborative partnership with OUGES in the years ahead.”
Matt Woods, CEO and Co-Founder of AFK, added: “I am extremely excited to be helping to elevate gaming and esports at Jesus College, and across the university. I hope that the new suite helps entice students who previously may not have had access to this kind of equipment to really get involved and indulge in their passion for gaming.
“It’s a privilege for AFK and myself to be involved in bringing to life the vision of an esports hub at Oxford, building the foundations for the future and continuing to contribute to the long-term success of the project.”
The news comes after AFK signed a partnership with NRG earlier this year.
Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.