Esports College Courses Focus On More Than The Game

This Article was contributed by Matthew Carrico, Editorial Intern.

Throughout the nation and beyond, many colleges and universities are in the midst of starting their own esports programs, many have programs already in place as well as varsity teams/clubs for the student body. While others are at the level to which they are recognized as true sports players participating in regional tournaments for things such as recognition and potentially scholarships via prize pools. 

Many students and other individuals are seeking career opportunities in the field due to the growing popularity of esports. However, many may be unprepared because it is still a relatively new medium to pursue. In response to this, many colleges have started offering degree programs in which students can take courses that focus on various aspects of the industry and potentially make a future career out of the learning.

Already, there are a variety of colleges offering courses and degrees that fall under the esports umbrella. Some notable examples include Becker College, Ohio State University, Caldwell University, University of Texas at Arlington, Keuka College, and George Mason University, just to name a few. This growing list of colleges with esports curriculum stems from the growing revenue that the esports industry has seen in the last few years, especially during the pandemic. Students are able to take this degree program and earn credits just like any other program while working towards a degree. 

Many students enter the world of esports thanks to a love for video games and seek to make careers out of it. Or more so, to evolve their hobby into their passion. A recent article by Cal Matters’ Marisa Martinez highlighted various aspects of esports courses but also some students who grew up with video games and are now seeking careers. Fernando Gomez mentions, in the article, how he grew up watching his brothers play video games such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy and how gaming brought his family together. That love eventually allowed him to make a career as a digital content coordinator for the Portland Trailblazers. Success stories such as Gomez’s are often taken to heart when many colleges launch their own esports programs.

In the same article, Dina Ibraham, academic advisor of the SF State esports athletic club says the following, “Higher ed needs to evolve or die.” This statement is in response to new fields of study and careers coming out of new industries such as esports. In essence, the addition of college esports degrees is part of this evolution which grants more opportunities. Finally, the article highlights various campuses, specifically Cal State and the University of California, that have created esports programs since 2015 in response to various changes in human interest in esports.

One field of study that interests many students is management which many colleges offer as a Bachelor’s Degree such as Caldwell University and Shenandoah University. Esports Management is where students learn to plan and execute events such as tournaments and live streams using the latest streaming technology. They also learn to develop business plans for the teams to coordinate, create online communities on various platforms such as Discord and promote events via mediums such as social media. 

There are a variety of other courses as well such as Esports Game Technology which analyzes the latest technology such as consoles and peripherals to find optimal ways to improve the experience. Esports planning focuses more on the planning of specific events such as tournaments. There are even courses focused on the competitive side for those interested to take their skills to the professional level. 

There is a lot to offer in terms of programs and courses for esports, and there are many reasons why students should take advantage of this. For one, many popular companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Adidas are investing in esports scholarships which show how much support the industry has. Esports is also mainly an online format which, thanks to the pandemic, more people spend their time on. 

Esports is also garnering quite a fanbase which is even putting football to shame. In 2019, revenue for global esports was reported at over $1 billion dollars and a fanbase of 443 million fans. 

There are already hundreds of jobs lined up in the world of competitive gaming and this medium allows you to be flexible with your location be it from your home, in a café, or down the street. This industry also provides opportunities to travel around the world for work purposes if one is inclined to do so.

Finally, esports careers offer people who grew up gaming to be in a business where they do something they loved doing all their lives. It does not matter if you play professionally or not, the industry has a variety of programs and opportunities that can fit one’s preferences.

Collegiate courses that focus on competitive video games may have seemed somewhat of a fantasy a few years ago. Thanks to growing popularity, massive support, and a growing interest in the generation, esports is now one of the biggest growing industries in the world. It is no wonder that there are now dedicated degrees just for this burgeoning industry. In the future, there may be more programs dedicated to esports including research and theory as hypothetical examples. More colleges are taking note of this. Your college campus may soon have its own dedicated collegiate esports program if it does not already exist.

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About The Author

Robbie Landis Host of the CheckpointXP National Show, Other Identity comic book podcast and a Dungeon Master. Robbie Landis has been playing games since Yoshi's Cookie Factory was released on the NES. He enjoys RPGs, APEX Legends and World of Warcraft.

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