In the height of Skyrim's popularity, the Department of English at Rice University launched a course named 'Scandinavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim' whose syllabus was Skyrim itself, as opposed to textbooks and journals. Now, a UK-based university has announced plans to launch a BA (hons) degree module in esports.
Set to start in September 2018 at Staffordshire University, the course is said to combine "learning and teach from business and computer games" as it aims to target skills that are in "demand" for those aged 35 and under.
"Over 73 per cent of those employed within esports are under the age of 35 and their skills are in demand," says the university's academic dean for recruitment Rachel Gowers. "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."
A press release notes that Staffordshire Uni's announcement follows last year's UKIE esports white paper. Within, eight recommendations for how the games industry and the UK government can work together in making the UK a global frontrunner in esports were outlined. The university's module is a direct response to this.
Dr Bobbie Fletcher, the head of games and visual effects at Stafford adds: "The module, which is available to students on our Games Studies course, is a fascinating branch of cultural studies. It looks at the national, and international market for esports, and the cultural aspects that drive it as well as the darker side of cheating and doping by esports players.
"Games designers are growing up and that brings with it new trends in gaming which comes with its own set of ethical dilemmas."
So, school leavers: is a university-led career in esports something you'd consider?