A UNIVERSITY course that teaches students how to play video games competitively will launch next year in a first for the UK.
Staffordshire University is offering a three-year course to help gamers learn how to forge a career in the burgeoning industry and put on their own eSporting events.
Top players will be able to get a scholarship, meaning the university will effectively pay them to play games (although there will also be some academic work to complete too, of course).
Many top European football clubs are signing up eSports players and letting them loose on the virtual footie fields of Fifa games.
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Rachel Gowers, academic dean for recruitment at the Staffordshire University Business School, said: “Over 73 per cent of those employed within eSports are under the age of 35 and their skills are in demand.
“Companies are looking for people who are entrepreneurial and tech savvy and the industry is driving the creation of new jobs.
“The course focuses on the business and culture of eSports from developing teams, communities and a fan base to hosting eSports events.
“All students will get to visit an esports arena and we are also offering a number of exciting scholarship opportunities for competitive players.”
Former culture secretary Ed Vaizey welcomed the announcement on Twitter, branding it ‘fantastic’.
.@StaffsUni is introducing the UK’s first eSports degree to commence in 2018. Fantastic
What will students learn on the Staffordshire Uni eSports course?
- In Year one, students will be introduced to eSports culture and learn about streaming techniques.
- They will learn about the business of competitive gaming, event marketing and work towards organising their first eSports event.
- In year two, gamers will continue event management studies to develop and deliver a team based eSports event.
- They will learn about the technical set up that’s required to deliver these events along with the public relations required to promote it.
- In the final year, they will become totally immersed in eSports events and develop a large-scale commercial event from start to finish.
- Students will also learn about games community management and the legal issues involved with eSports before finally creating business plans for their own eSports company.
The BA Hons course will teach students – who need A Level grades BCC or higher – to host events for single player and multi-player teams.
They will learn how to promote these events, create online communities and learn about the culture of eSports, its audience and fan base.
Students will have to join one of Staffordshire University’s six competitive societies: League of Legends, DOTA2, Hearthstone, Counter Strike, Overwatch and Super Smash Bros and compete in events in the UK and overseas.
They’ll even get a chance to win one of six scholarships worth £2,000 to fund their competitive career in gaming.
Classes will be taught by a mixture of gaming pros – in the dedicated eSports lab as well as tourism, events and marketing tutors.
Dr Bobbie Fletcher, Head of Games and Visual Effects, said: “Plans to grow the UK as an esports hub brings huge opportunities in job creation and we are well placed as a University to explore that.”
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