When Katie Frates was a student at Hillsdale, she was known for sneaking off from parties to play video games. Now, she’s known for The Daily Walkthrough, an esports and video game newsletter.
“I’ve been a nerd my whole life,” Frates said. “I have loved video games forever.”
The Daily Walkthrough is a morning newsletter that publishes Monday through Friday detailing the current events in the gaming industry, league updates, and other announcements. Frates said she is currently the only writer of the newsletter.
But this wasn’t Frates’ original path. She graduated in 2014 as a finance major.
“My summer into my senior year, I had an early mid-life crisis,” Frates said.
Frates ended up interning at the The Daily Caller as part of the National Journalism Center program. She was eventually hired on as an editor and then began working as part of The Daily Caller News Foundation. She currently works at Olympic Media as a managing editor and is now the editor-in-chief at The Daily Walkthrough.
While at school, Frates was involved in Kappa Kappa Gamma and cheerleading. Her advisor, Professor of Law Robert Blackstock, called Frates a “lively and engaged student.”
“Her interests ranged far and wide, and she had the intellect to follow those interests and make them bear fruit,” Blackstock said in an email. “Katie was game to embrace ideas, history, various ethical traditions, and chase the conversation wherever it wanted to go.”
Frates credits Hillsdale with instilling her with what she calls “a vast well of knowledge” that she said gives her a different perspective than her Washington, D.C. counterparts.
“There’s a classical feel at Hillsdale that has followed me and will continue to follow me,” Frates said.
But she has always loved video games.
“Much to my sorority sisters’ chagrin, I did not do a very good job at hiding my video gaming,” she said.
Frates said that The Daily Walkthrough fills a niche gap in the e-sports industry, by providing a newsletter with “no favoritism.” Unlike newsletters from specific publications, The Daily Walkthrough pull from a variety of sources. She said she’s been pleased with it’s success so far.
Frates said she’s been pleased with the newsletter’s success so far.
“It’s been a wild ride,” Frates said. “It’s been far more successful than I thought it would be.”
Esports, or “electronic sports” is a quickly-growing industry centered around playing video games competitively or professionally. Gamers attend tournaments with cash prizes, play on teams, or “stream” their gaming live on platforms like Twitch.
And it’s got some serious cash. The global Esports Economy should reach $905.6 million, according to Newzoo. This is a year-on-year growth of 38 percent.
“This is absolutely an international movement that is not going away,” Frates said.
Senior Josh Hoover started streaming on Twitch last school year and began streaming professionally over the summer.
“I started streaming so my dad could watch,” Hoover said. His dad would normally watch Hoover and his brother play video games, but couldn’t anymore once he and his brothers had left for college.
Hoover said that the idea of working in esports needs to be mainstream.
“I think Fortnite did a good job of that,” he said. “It’s normal now to see someone working in esports.”
Fortnite and other mainstream games have made epsorts familiar to kids, Frates said. In some ways, esports has replaced normal sports.
“This is their passion; this is their hobby,” Frates said. “This is what they’re going to engage with.”