Forward:Thinking is a series that will feature stories about my ventures into real estate, esports, blindness, poverty, artificial intelligence and everything in between. Read below to find the fifth entry into the series which discusses the esports industry and what this industry will bring to the world.
The staggering rise of esports is something I saw coming a few years back. The increase in players, teams and audience is something to celebrate. The industry is now worth millions and is only becoming more and more profitable. Players are starting to become public figures and many global brands such as Samsung and Dolce and Gabbana are starting to partner with teams.
With the rise in popularity comes the desire from spectators to become players. Audience members have began to look up and admire esports players. With it becoming increasingly difficult to break your way into the industry, many education institutions have introduced degree programmes in which students can learn about the esports industry, playing the games, managing events and even the psychology behind the games.
Whilst many may deem these degrees pointless and unrealistic, they encourage young people to seek out and immerse themselves into a career of the future. When the next generation graduate from education and venture out into the big bad world, these are the jobs that will be needed. Many jobs are becoming less in demand due to technology replacing human labour – which is a conversation for another day.
It is easy to assume that these programmes will consist of 18-24 year olds playing video games all day, however that is not the case. In the US, the University of New Haven offers a more business focused esports degree. This particular degree focuses on business management, financial accounting, operations management and sports marketing. This comes at a time where many more young people are choosing to pursue more interdisciplinary degrees rather than a simple one-subject degree. With employment prospects being considerably lower for todays graduates, it is a smart move to become educated in multiple areas.
In my opinion, esports degrees seem to be a way to break into several industries. Educating young minds to be aware of the current and future climate of tomorrows industries will pave the way for successful and prosperous careers. With all of this in mind, it is important to note that getting an esports degree will not ensure you a position of a player/competitor. Becoming a member of a team and playing esports competitively requires practice and a talent for gaming. The difference between this and an education in esports is that a degree will break you into the industry and you will be tasked with the organisational, business and financial elements of esports whereas the player/competitor does not necessarily need to be concerned about this.
One other key role within the industry is content creation. Whilst many study content and communication at university, a degree is not vital to finding a career in this. Taking a learning-as-you-go attitude can be important when dealing with content creation. Many streamers become skilled in video/audio production and editing their content on the go. This is thanks to rise and popularity in social media and using social media as a way to earn money.
Money plays a large role in all of this. Whether that be from the partnerships with big brands, revenue from advertising or social media income, the industry needs a constant churn of income to survive. I do not have any doubts that the esports industry will come to a halt anytime soon. Mass interest and constant audience consumption will keep this industry going for years to come.
With the increase is interest for esports, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive, maybe encouraging more to enrol to esports degrees. I believe that it is also important to stress that an esports degree does not equal to receiving a degree in a much broader subject. Whilst esports degrees allow the student to learn several aspects of the industry that are also present in many other industries, the focus still is with esports only. I hate to be pessimistic, but, it is often experience that trumps education which means that companies are much more likely to hire a finance manager or events organiser with 10+ years experience instead of hiring an esports graduate fresh out of university.
In terms of studying esports at a degree level, I believe it could be beneficial in the future but it is also equally beneficial to gain a degree in business or finance as a whole instead of falling into a niche right away.
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