The likelihood of getting esports sanctioned in North Dakota next year plummeted when PlayVS, the digital platform used by high schools to schedule matches and compete against other schools, reneged on a verbal commitment to keep shooter games, such as Fortnite, off its platform, Rerick said.

PlayVS spokeswoman Victoria Mattei told the Tribune the company operates separate businesses for its “scholastic product,” which partners with schools to offer Rocket League and League of Legends, and its direct-to-consumer “club” product, which will see the addition of Fortnite. 

“Our primary commitment is to provide a safe, fun and healthy atmosphere for students to compete for their schools,” Mattei said. “We understand the sensitivity surrounding what is deemed appropriate for a school setting.”

Fortnite, a fast-paced, cartoonish-looking video game based around gun and weapon combat to remain the last player standing, is a popular shooter game, especially among young players.

A partnership between PlayVS, which bills itself as committed to an education-based esports experience, and the National Federation of State High School Associations, in which North Dakota is an active member, is in jeopardy because of the addition of Fortnite and other shooter games, Rerick said.

The two organizations are engaged in talks regarding shooter games, and whether North Dakota will sanction esports next year hinges largely on those discussions, according to Rerick.

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