Video games have always been connoted with young people. According to a 2021 survey by the Entertainment Software Association, 58% of gamers in the U.S. are under 35 years old, and 20% are younger than 18 years old.
Despite there being so many young gamers, video games are usually seen as just a hobby and not a career. But with the rising popularity of esports and the incorporation of non-endemic brands into esports, schools are recognising esports as a powerful industry.
Schools such as Staffordshire University and the University of New Haven (UNH) have established esports teams and academic programs to teach students about the video game industry, its history, and its future.
At UNH, students can take master’s courses such as “Marketing to the Esports Consumer,” “Value Proposition of Livestreaming Platforms,” and “Esports Event Organization and Management.” UNH’s esports business master’s program is the first of its kind in the U.S., and Staffordshire’s bachelor’s program in esports is the first in the United Kingdom.
As the esports industry grows in revenue and recognition, workers will need more knowledge of the field that they work in. While many people working in the industry have more generalised degrees, an esports-specific program could give students a better understanding of the industry and a leg-up when working for esports and video game companies.
Outside of universities, some public schools in the U.S. have provided their students with esports and gaming programs to promote engagement in the classroom and decrease truancy. Gaming can be a good outlet for kids who do not fit in to traditional sports groups. By bonding over video games, students can sometimes possibly find a dream career in the gaming industry.
The benefits that all of these programs and courses can have on the esports industry is immense. A better educated workforce in the esports industry can bring fresh ideas into the field and give companies a plethora of young, skillful candidates to choose from. By investing in education, esports and gaming as a whole can grow and mature.
A lot of schools and universities already provide funding for sports teams and courses in sports management, so why shouldn’t esports get the same attention? While there is some debate about the necessity of these university degrees and programs, this growth is bringing esports more closely aligned with traditional sports.
The esports and video game industries are still relatively new in comparison to the many others that are taught in school, but that doesn’t make their impact on popular culture any less real. In a 2021 report by Newzoo, 81% of Gen Z consumers have played video games within the past six months.
By investing into education, schools can provide the esports industry to top-level workers for years to come, further advancing the esports world forward.
GosuRabbit is a marketing agency that specialises in providing entertainment, esports and gaming marketing services for brands, businesses and agencies across the globe.
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