Verizon Supports Women in Gaming With Game Forward Scholarships and Dignitas NFTs

female in black hoodie in multiple posesBASKING RIDGE, N.J., June 14, 2021 — The power of 5G is transforming gaming. The speeds, low latency and capacity of Verizon’s superior 5G network have huge implications for developers, esports teams and fans. Verizon demonstrated its leadership throughout the ecosystem today at the company’s first-ever keynote presentation at E3. The presentation showcased how Verizon 5G and Mobile Edge Compute (MEC) technology are fueling innovations for developers, esports teams and fans with partners Electronic Arts (EA), Dignitas, Riot Games and Team Liquid.

Also addressing the growth of the gaming community and the need for an emphasis on more diverse representation, the company announced the Verizon Game Forward Scholarship, a $1 million commitment with the mission to increase female representation in the gaming industry and bolster opportunity and presence in STEM careers.

“A powerful network is the foundation of the future of the gaming industry, and that network is Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband,” said Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer at Verizon. “As we continue to work with our partners to build the future of the industry, we’re literally changing the game. 5G has massive implications for developers, esports teams and fans. As that ecosystem grows, a commitment to diversity, specifically around female representation, is crucial to continued innovation. The Verizon Game Forward Scholarship is an important action towards achieving the equity the industry needs.”

Verizon 5G is powering a gaming revolution enabling fans to download games in seconds, play data-intensive, multiplayer games typically reserved for consoles on mobile and engage in totally new, immersive ways. From battle-royale to major sports titles, Verizon 5G is opening the door for innovations craved by the 190 million gaming fans in the US.

Verizon and EA are joining forces to launch a partnership that will combine the power of Verizon 5G and the creativity of EA developers to explore solutions that will create the most dynamic player experiences in EA SPORTS Madden NFL Mobile — leveraging 5G labs to test and optimize gameplay and establish new standards in the future of gaming.

Verizon 5G will be crucial in creating fan-facing experiences that will take fan engagement to new heights as we return to live events. Verizon and Team Liquid are forming an innovation partnership that will reimagine fan engagement around the gaming industry’s biggest moments. In-person experiences will be more immersive, giving fans new ways to experience their favorite events, and enabling streamers to engage fans live from those events for the first time. Virtual reality innovations will allow fans to experience live events together, remotely, giving them the best seats in the house with 360-degree views that put them in the middle of the action.

Verizon is also activating with Dignitas to beta launch a Dignitas NFT experience, taking fan and player engagement to the next level. Starting today, 100 fans who engage with Dignitas on their social channels will be selected to receive unique, high fidelity NFT holograms of Dig’s Womens’ FPS team. The NFTs can be viewed in augmented reality, allowing Dig fans to walk around the NFT and even snap photos of them with their favorite player’s hologram to share with friends and family in real life and on social media.

Following the upcoming Game Changers tournament June 24-27, these NFTs will be digitally signed by the players, adding a new and personal layer to the fans’ experience. The “Dignitas Collectibles” are available exclusively on Verizon’s beta NFT platform, which allows fans to connect directly with celebrities to request NFT autographs. These collectibles are currently experience-based and cannot be traded or sold.

Building on Verizon’s long-standing commitment to DEI and the need to address diversity as the gaming community grows, the Verizon Game Forward Scholarship aims to increase female representation in gaming and STEM. Support for the program is being provided by Cxmmunity, a non-profit dedicated to increasing the participation of minorities within the esports and video game industry.

This fall, the scholarship will be awarded to a team of five female students pursuing degrees in technology at five HBCUs: Delaware State University, Dillard University, Howard University, Morgan State University and Texas Southern University. The 25 scholarship recipients will also be guaranteed internships at top tech and gaming companies, including Verizon and its partners, ensuring an increase in the pipeline of female talent into STEM careers.

The program will also fund the creation of tech centers on the campuses of the partnering HBCUs, which will be accessible to the entire school. The scholarship recipients will also receive access to the Verizon 5G Gaming Center at the 5G Lab in Los Angeles, where the frontiers of network-driven innovation in areas like esports are being pushed and innovative, forward-thinking companies can access the resources to build and scale the future of gaming. Cxmmunity will help to develop scholarship criteria, select qualified student recipients, and procure and manage all logistics to install the tech centers at the five HBCUs. Verizon Game Forward Scholarship is an expansion of the Future Fund, a $5 million fund launched in 2020 to champion new and emerging female talent across entertainment and technology.

Taking further action to support female representation in the gaming industry, Verizon expanded its commitment to the Verizon VCT Game Changers initiative, which elevates women and marginalized groups within the esports community, inspiring the next generation of players. In partnership with Riot Games, a new expansion to the program, launching this fall, will provide training and mentoring to the next generation of female esports casters, providing them with the tools and insight to grow in their careers. Verizon VCT Game Changers will also continue to provide competitive opportunities for women through top tier tournaments, which will offer prizes to top performing teams and be supported by the professionally produced broadcasts of Riot Games.