1.1 billion dollars, that's what the eSport industry will represent next year. Understandable when you realize it attracts millions of fans around its exciting and engaging games and champions. From the epic adventures of World of Warcraft (Blizzard) to dynamic and strategic face-to-face team fights of League of Legends (Riot Games), it hasn't been that difficult for these entertaining games to become worldwide watched fights into arenas where "wows" and cheers resonate in stadiums and where athletes display show incredible intellectual and team management skills.
Without talking about gamers, eSport gathers today an audience of approximately 300 million people, nearly the size of the US population. Not bad for only a decade of existence. The game becomes now something else, an industry that includes marketing, management, innovation, media, betting. And now eSports unrolls its red carpet into the education world.
Indeed, in the US for example, more and more universities create their own teams and academic programs concerning gaming but also marketing of eSport, management, communication, project management, game development etc. For example, the University of California at Irvine is the first public university that took the decision to welcome eSport in its education programs and decided to build a beautiful gaming hall for its students, thanks notably to donations from Riot Games and others. The results are obvious: universities that propose eSport programs like UCI rapidly see growth in terms of applications. The same case can be seen in China with schools like Hunan Sports Vocational College or in the UK with universities like Staffordshire.
Introduction of eSport in education comes at a day when we can observe a trend of gamification and innovation into pedagogy. Effects are numerous.
- Strategic games like League of Legends or DOTA have real positive impacts on analytics, team management and organization skills.
- Gaming develops hand-eye coordination and constant activity of various parts of the brain making multitasking easy.
- eSport gamers also develop the same skills as traditional athletes.
- adoption of technology and gamification of education facilitates learning.
In a way, eSport adds up to the Edtech family and offers a beautiful perspective to game lovers but also to students, professors, school administrations and entrepreneurs. It is interesting to see what impact games will have on education and higher education in the mid term and long term. How will it change our approach to education and learning? How grading methods will change according to the change in learning supports? Wait and see...