Published Aug 24, 2022
Armada Spotlight: Nathan Duke
The former Armada player and Show Production grad is leading in collegiate esports as the Manager of Esports Programs and Facility Operations with Butler University.
“That old saying, ‘If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.’ Well, I love what I do, but I still work really hard at it because I don't want to lose the opportunity. Esports is everything to me, it has been for a long time,” says Nathan Duke, a Show Production graduate and one of the earliest members of Full Sail Armada.
Eager to pursue a career in gaming from early on, Nathan originally enrolled in the Game Development program, hoping to leave his mark on the future of competitive gaming.
“I was already really interested in esports. I was a Call of Duty player, I was doing little amateur events, going to LAN centers to play with my friends,” he recalls. “As I kept going to more events, learning more about the technology behind production, I fell in love with that side of the industry and it was after one year at Full Sail that I switched from Game Dev to Show Production.”
Today, Nathan works as the Manager of Esports Programs and Facility Operations with Butler University in Indianapolis, in a role that sees him fulfilling two of his greatest passions, esports and live event production. For Nathan, the administrative duties of managing the program at Butler aren’t unfamiliar territory. During his time in the Full Sail Armada varsity program, he was introduced to the principles of team management, coordination, and more.
“I got to experience what it meant to be a collegiate player. I got to experience what it meant to be a collegiate manager as a student and all of the different intricacies and nuances that go into that,” he says. “Being able to go through those motions and processes and kind of learn about that culture from that side of the fence with Armada was a huge asset to me.”
Along with managing teams, Nathan also manages operations for the upcoming Butler Esports Park, a 7,500-square-foot facility on the Butler campus serving as a hub for the area’s esports and gaming community. Here, Nathan applies the in-depth knowledge of event production gained during his undergrad years at Full Sail.
“[The Show Production degree program] prepared me in a plethora of ways. Whether that's learning how to properly mix audio, design PA stacks, manage lighting rigs, operate a video wall, create graphics, organize and run an event, whether that's from the director seat, engineering position, or just a stage manager… I got to walk through all of those positions and learn the ins and outs of all of them,” he says. “Now when I'm coordinating teams on projects, I know where the starting point is, I know what skills they need to have to properly execute on that role they're in and I have the guidance and insights to be able to help coach them along.”
Bringing his unique esports prowess to Butler, Nathan is committed to making the university a leader in the collegiate space. “Our holistic vision is our three pillars: competition, community, and curriculum. So we want to be able to check all of those boxes as best as we can,” says Nathan. “Our goal in terms of our varsity programs is to win, win, win. I want to fill the trophy cases.”