A computer giant and a UK university have teamed up to offer a Masters degree – in competitive VIDEO GAMING .
The eSports course, which takes six months to complete, will be offered to around 20 postgraduates at Leicester University .
Students will receive lectures from key players in the gaming industry from around the world as well as one-to-one tuition on game playing.
The course will cover the key aspects of the video gaming industry and explore the secrets behind developing a successful game.
It will be run by the department of Data Analysis for Business Intelligence and will start next January.
There are plans to expand the module and run a full three-year degree course dedicated to competitive video gaming.
Jeremy Levesley, from the department of mathematics, is leading on the development of the course and will be the module convenor.
He said: “It is a master’s level degree and the idea really is for students to try to understand what the business of competitive video gaming is.
“It is all about understanding the business from the data, can a data scientist look at the data a build a product based on that?
“We are working with ESL Gaming and, although it is not academic in that sense, what I want to do is attach universities to real things.
“It is all about relationship building. I’m very much hoping that in two to three years time we will have a full on degree in competitive video gaming.
“We have courses on statistical methods for data and computer programming.
“The business people from ESL gaming will provide the business intelligence and we are hoping to get people from all around the world to give lectures.
“We want to get various people from the eSports world so the students can understand what the business model is.
“The students will try to build a prototype product and then of course if ESL gaming are interested in any of these products then they can think about putting it into practice.
“At the minute the module will be an eighth of the student’s degree. The course itself is a one-year postgraduate course.
“The overall aim will be to produce the next data scientists in eSports.
“You could become an eCoach, telling a group of people how to beat another group of people based on the data in front of you.
“If we end up with a full degree then there may well be features (where there will be pundits who give Match of the Day-style commentary on gaming) but we do the data side of things so that would be a different department.
“People learn best when at play, so now more than ever, developing the use of games as a medium for learning is of paramount importance.
“eSports is a very important component of this, as it becomes more popular around the world.
“I am hoping that students will gain commercial awareness of the eSports business model, which is one of the fastest growing parts of the gaming economy.”
Managing director of ESL UK, James Dean said: “As the eSports industry grows in the UK, we are keen to establish an ecosystem that is sustainable for the future.
“A key component to this is training and attracting talent to the number of roles the eSports industry provides.
“The course outlined by the University of Leicester is very exciting for students looking to join the eSports industry and we are delighted to support it.”