Ballarat Tech School hosted the region's first high school eSports tournament on Friday, an event that was the first step in a bid to make eSports a regular inter-school sports competition in Ballarat.
Twenty-two high school students participated in the tournament playing video game Fortnite, battling to win a place in the grand final.
They were selected from a list of more than 100 students who registered their interest in being involved in the event.
Ballarat Tech School program facilitator and chief executive of Ballarat-based gaming startup Dark Shadow Studios Casey Thomas said she hoped to run regular eSports tournaments for high school students in an effort to bridge the gap between young people and professional video gamers.
"I would love to be able to have a high school team for schools where they can compete against each other throughout the year and have a grand final at the end of the year," she said.
"I will talk to large eSports companies about the potential of looking at students who have finished high school and are still doing eSports tournaments to be drafted into ESL Australia, the professional eSports league."
I would love to be able to have a high school team for schools where they can compete against each other throughout the year and have a grand final at the end of the year.Casey Thomas, Ballarat Tech School
Creating a high school eSports league in Ballarat would be a first for regional Victoria. It is a new concept, with only a few high school leagues established in Queensland and Melbourne.
Ms Thomas would build the model for a league from scratch. She said her next step would be to contact Ballarat Tech School partner schools, given the strong student interest on Friday.
"My goal is to be able to bridge a gap for ESL finding talent, so when the students are old enough they already have those skills to be taken into ESL," she said.
"Like any other sports, students are able to socialise, interact, build coordination skills and can learn another language if their friends are from another country."
The push for a high school league comes after City of Ballarat's economic development sector specialist Kelli Moran revealed her vision for digital games development to be a growing industry in Ballarat.
The StartUp Ballarat program ran a digital games development event in February in an effort to bring together the previously fragmented games development community.
Ms Moran said she hoped the event, which attracted around 50 people, was the start of creating Ballarat to be a games development hub.
"My personal dream is to see Ballarat as the regional games development alternative to Melbourne," she said in February.
City of Ballarat's draft Creative City Strategy identifies digital games development as a key growth industry.