Going To School For A Career in Esports
I came across this video on Linus tech tips. It is not one of his usual videos as it was about a school in Taiwan that offers students the opportunity to take gaming as one of their majors. Having gaming courses in school has become increasingly popular, with many private schools offering up courses to train the next Esports champion. Yung Ping vocational high school is one of such schools and will be the subject of this post today.
Watching the video got me interested and thinking, do we actually need a school like that? Education in general is meant to equip the children, the next generation for skills that they can use in the future. Furthermore, since gaming addiction was just classified as a disorder by the world health organization(WHO), it seems more prudent to not have courses on gaming, especially since it encourages a disorder. I am sure some would have similar thoughts too, but before we jump to conclusions, let’s talk about the gaming course, shall we?
I’m sure the class is going to be boring…
Imagine a day in the classroom, you sit in rows and a teacher talks away about why a dude name Alexander wanted to go to a bunch of wars (or something like that). Only in the class at Yung Ping, there will be no Alexander, instead,you are at war with other human opponents on League of Legends or even Overwatch. Furthermore, gone are the rows of chairs and desks, replaced by awesome gaming monitors and chairs.
The picture above is one of the images of that classroom . As you play, the games can be streamed onto monitors at the front of the class where coaches would critique your skill. The video also pointed out theoretical and strategy courses as part of the learning, so you are not just spending hours after hours playing but there is some studying required too.
Now here comes the interesting part and no, its not really just about playing games. The courses offered there is not a full gaming course.
It’s A Gaming Course… But Not Exactly…
As a teacher trainer, educator and former state athlete, I don’t think studying gaming only is a good idea. As a state athlete, you develop somewhat of a tunnel vision. You think that maybe today, this year is the year where you will be given that chance to go for one of the international competitions. You train, you work hard but in the end, you don’t get selected.
As you look around, all your friends are already in their second year at college, while you are just starting. While it is noble and great to believe and be passionate about something, I think it is good to be wise as well. What if that Esports career of yours never gets materialized?
As an educator, I would say that the more skills you have the better. Yung Ping vocational high school offers that option. That is why, the students in the gaming course are pursuing a double major, they are all studying to be an Esports champion but also, they may be studying to be an artist or something ICT related as their other major.
This provides the students with options and another marketable skill. Furthermore, who is to say that you can’t be an artist in the gaming industry? I’m sure the next Diablo game would need some great artists for the characters and other aspects of the game.
But, Is It Necessary?
I believe that with the gaming industry as it is, there are a lot of opportunities for a child with some experience in gaming. I believe that with many companies having their own gaming brands, these students with some certification in gaming would be very marketable in the future.
As for esports, I think it depends on who you ask. I mean, some people call chess a sport and if many are alright with that, esports should be considered too. After all, it takes hard work to develop the kind of God-like agility and quick thinking that most professional gamers have. However, the question asked by most traditionalists remain, how do we stop these students from becoming addicted? Or some may say, overly passionate about games?
I would say that with professional gamers and tutors overseeing the program, I think that this is highly unlikely. Besides, I think that the line between being addicted and diligently working towards a goal can sometimes be rather blurred. In the case of sports, I used to train 8 hours a day, 6 hours in the pool and 2 hours at the gym. I was working hard and I think some aspiring professional gamers should be seen in a similar light.
However, I believe that studying is still an important part of one’s overall development. I never gave up on my studies despite my crazy training schedule and I believe that if the curriculum and teachers can help the students find balance, then this is truly a great program. I do wonder if the school would hire a teacher like me.