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eSports at Staffs

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Recently the eSports Bachelor’s Degree was announced at Staffordshire University – the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. It’s designed to ensure that students will receive specialised teaching, making sure they’re ready to enter the industry when they graduate.

Stuart Kosters- who is a student here at Staffordshire University and head of the Video Games Society – played a huge role in pitching the idea for this new degree to faculty members of the University.

For those that are unaware, eSports, or electronic sports are organised multiplayer or single player video game competitions particularly involving professional players. In the late 2000s, spectatorship for these events surged and many game developers now actively design towards the eSports subculture.

Stuart, who studies Computer Games Design realised that there was a huge gap in the market and that the University would benefit by pouncing on this opportunity.

The degree will be a collaborative degree between faculties, showing the relationship between business and games. Members of the business faculty will be teaching around marketing, public relations, advertising and event management – while games will teach things surrounding the culture.

“In our culture, gamers exude passion when learning or speaking about things that interest them” Stuart said, discussing those who would potentially be interested in the degree.

This passion is definitely noticeable, as eSports has become both powerful and popular in recent years. The 51st Superbowl, showing the best of the 2016 season in America’s national sport to televisions across the world received less viewers than the 2015 League of Legends World Championship final.

“The Staffs Video Games Society will support students throughout their course”

“It’s an educational course, it’s not going to make you a professional gamer, but the VGS will help you continue to love your passion”

“There’s also opportunities for people from other degrees such as Games Journalism students to become involved and gather attention for eSports Student’s Events.”

Not only will people learn about the culture, they’ll learn about the players too, including the psychological issues that they may face.

The degree offers transferable skills that could be used in various other sports, so just because you’re taking the degree doesn’t necessarily mean you want to be involved in a League of Legends or Overwatch team in the future.

“The Union has supported me every step of the way in the suggestion of the degree to the running of the Video Game Society and hosting events”

“We’ve received outstanding support from Epic Games, who have their lab here on the campus in the past. We’re sure their aware of what we’re doing.”

According to Stuart, people have been contacting both him and the University from across the globe and people from Korea and China, where professional eSport players are considered famous on a pop-star level are interesting in leaving that behind to come to the University.

The degree also offers a new avenue for former professional players, suggesting that they could go into lecturing rather than coaching or owning a team when they retire. It also provides opportunities for interesting guest lecturers in the future.

As well as this, Stuart wants to link the passion people have for learning about eSports to the passion they have for playing Video Games, and wants Staffordshire University to be a real contender in the NUEL (National University eSports League) next year.

“I want Staffs to be not only the best at creating games, but playing them too.”

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