IMMERSIVE MEDIA AND GAME STUDIES

Nathan Torres

Junior, journalism and cinema studies
Duck TV esports producer
Hometown: Beaumont, California

Nathan Torres has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. But until recently, careers in the game industry seemed limited to a select few. Then he joined the university’s esports program and learned that the SOJC’s student-run Duck TV program covers esports matches.

“I realized you don’t have to be a pro gamer to have a video game career,” said Torres, who has been producing Duck TV spots for more than a year. “I hope to one day be a producer for an esports organization, making content or producing streams for them.”

Starting out, Nathan knew little about broadcasting or streaming setups. The Immersive Media Lab and production studios in the SOJC’s Experience Hub provide ample opportunities to practice with industry-standard livestreaming software and experiment with tools such as 360 cameras, virtual reality headsets, and green screens.

Discovering so much support for game studies and immersive media at the SOJC—where students and faculty study everything from virtual environments to how board games can communicate climate change concepts—has been a game changer for Torres.

“The SOJC has provided opportunities to explore careers I had never thought of before,” he says. “Being in Duck TV has really cleared up my career goals and shown me a path I didn’t know I could take.”

“The SOJC and Duck TV have helped me with everything I’ve learned about esports. I can check out equipment whenever I need it, which allows me to explore both esports and broadcasting.”
Nathan Torres

a person clicks on immersive elements on an ipad while another person in the background sets up an immersive game board

two students wear VR headsets while a professor looks on

two UO esports players sit at computers in a room lit vibrant green

two students wearing VR headsets and holding controls in the OR Lab

Virtual Reality Is a Reality at the SOJC

The next media frontier is immersive. And in the Immersive Media Lab in Eugene and the Oregon Reality (OR) Lab at SOJC Portland, students have access to everything from 360-degree video cameras and drones to Oculus Rift headsets and high-end gaming workstations with the latest game-development software. A multidisciplinary space dedicated to teaching and researching immersive media as an ethical tool for communication innovation, the OR Lab is also a testing ground where students and faculty help solve social, environmental, and business problems.

See the OR Lab in Action

Meet the Immersive Media Faculty

Amanda Cote gestures in front of a whiteboard

Amanda Cote

Assistant professor of media studies and game studies

Amanda Cote is on a quest to understand how inequality is built into game cultures. An expert in the industry and culture of video games, Cote’s work explores gender, representation, and issues of technological access. Her recent book, Gaming Sexism: Gender and Identity in the Era of Casual Video Games, explores the misogyny embedded in video game culture, while her research has helped shape the SOJC’s cutting-edge game studies curriculum. She recently co-founded the Esports and Games Research Lab with Maxwell Foxman.

Max Foxman gestures to a screen during class

Maxwell Foxman

Assistant professor of media studies and game studies

Maxwell Foxman sees games everywhere he goes—in social media, politics, and journalistic institutions—and he is interested in how game play can be used as a new method for communicating to the public about issues that are difficult to capture in mainstream news media. He also studies the experience of early adopters of digital communications technology with a focus on virtual reality developers. He recently co-founded the Esports and Games Research Lab with Amanda Cote.

Danny Pimentel oversees a student wearing a VR headset

Danny Pimentel

Assistant professor of immersive media psychology

Danny Pimentel is the SOJC’s resident expert in cross-reality platforms—virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality—and immersive media psychology. As a graphic designer and avid gamer, storytelling has always been a big part of his life. Today, he puts those passions to work in the classroom, in his research examining the illusion of body transfer, and in virtual reality simulations he’s building and testing in the OR Lab.

outdoor portrait of Samantha Bilotta wearing an SOJC t-shirt

What our alumni say

Samantha Bilotta ’21

Social media and marketing consultant
Hard Counter Esports

“The game studies program at the SOJC prepared me to not only work within the esports industry but to also look for new ways to tell stories. By understanding how games work and how people play games, we can find new ways to share news stories, create immersive marketing campaigns, and educate the public. Understanding games is understanding interactive and immersive communication.”

Connect with Samantha