Did you know collegiate academics are evolving in the world of eSports? In fact, just like traditional sports, eSports creates opportunities for innovative learning and careers.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the things we think might help you better understand education opportunities in eSports and how gaming can revolutionize project-based learning.
eSports has grown exponentially in the past few years in the academic world. Administrators and teachers have realized how much it can affect project-based learning as they incorporate eSports into the curriculum.
And as the number of jobs and career opportunities continue to grow in this arena, more and more colleges are jumping onto the eSports train.
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Background of eSports
The early days of competitive computer games go all the way back to 1952, when Alexander Shafto Douglas developed a game called “XOX”. This game could only be played against the computer.
In 1958, the first two player game, “Tennis for Two”, was invented, and it is considered to be the forerunner of all eSports.
In the 1960s, several colleagues at MIT developed “Spacewar!”, and it is thought to be the first digital computer game ever created. In fact, Stanford University actually hosted a tournament for the game in 1972, but gameplay was really only possible for people who had access to the machines the game was built for.
It wasn’t until the 1970s and ‘80s that the general public began to have access to digital games. As arcades started popping up across the country and as home gaming consoles became available, more and more people caught on to the idea of gaming.
When permanent high score lists were introduced in 1976, the competitive nature of games became possible.
But high score lists didn’t create eSports as we know it today. In the 1990s that it would become clear that the future of eSports would be found on PCs and in the network. Although Nintendo and Sega had become household fixtures by this time, and Nintendo was even hosting World Championship games with great success, the availability of cheaper and more powerful hardware was making it possible for gamers to compete with each other from home in small network sessions.
Since then, eSports has established itself all over the world, and continues to grow every year.
The Growing Industry of eSports
In 2021, the eSports industry was valued at over $1 billion, and it is expected to grow to over $1.64 billion by 2024. This incredible revenue increase is largely due to increased viewership over the past few years.
Every sport needs an audience to survive, and eSports is no exception. But it’s not just viewership that has increased revenue in this industry.
It’s also the investments in marketing by brand sponsors. And while COVID did seem to put a dent in this growth with public events being limited, things seem to be getting back to normal more recently.
Especially as attendance at live streaming events has exploded in the past few years.
More eSports Will Result in More Revenue
This continued revenue growth has no end in sight, and possibilities for eSports are seemingly endless. Brand sponsorship continues to be the largest factor in revenue growth at the moment, but many eSports organizations are diversifying their revenue streams away from sponsorship, which will ultimately make them more resilient.
Also, as companies recognize emerging markets, they can offer more localized content to fans.
Access to mobile eSports also increases engagement, which is expected to increase revenue. Blockchain gaming and NFTs are emerging topics in the gaming world, which also show some promise.
More Revenue Results in More Job Opportunities
Since the eSports industry has scaled such to impressive proportions, they are constantly in need of a skilled workforce across the world. There is so much more to eSports careers than playing professionally.
There are many job opportunities in eSports as the organizations that run them continue to scale up. The industry needs people with a wide variety of skills, such as event hosts, coaches, event organizers, social media managers and business developers.
Evolving Education Opportunities In Esports (Coaching, Coding, Design, Etc…)
So, what does all this mean for educators and collegiate academics? It means that educators can and should incorporate eSports into their STEM career pathways as they continue to grow and evolve.
eSports has a unique way of blending several different skill sets into one place, and tech industries are looking for people who have these skills. Not only should applicants be proficient in the nuts and bolts of tech hardware and software, they need to be able to communicate, collaborate, and be creative.
Students don’t necessarily learn these things in coding class, but they are a big part of what it takes to succeed at eSports.
Computer gaming can help students become more employable across a variety of fields, and gaming can help students learn skills for aviation, medicine, engineering and more, as well as in the tech field. When teachers incorporate eSports into the curriculum, students have a greater chance to learn to use technology in general, improving computer literacy.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about where eSports came from and how they can be used in the classroom to improve academic outcomes and student experience. If you have any questions or comments, let us know in the comments!