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Video Games Industry: Got a Degree in E-Sports, but Will You Get a Job?

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"I think the whole world is in my hands, I can do whatever I want," said Daniel Morgan, a third-year sports student at Staffordshire University

Daniel will be one of the first graduates of such a degree in the world as his university is the first university in the UK to offer this course.

And it's not just about playing computer games, it's also about providing the skills needed in the industry that hosts tournaments around the world.

She says it is "quite business-like and teaches everything from marketing, legislation and finance to event management, strategy and content creation."

At the same time, Danielle is gaining experience working for an e-sports production company, Status Effect, and is helping to organize a Rainbow Six Sage video game competition.

Since she is currently trying to combine her studies and her job, she has not yet found a specific field in which she would like to apply for a job after graduation.

But the situation is encouraging as e-sports is booming in the computer games industry. The computer games industry currently accounts for 52% of the entertainment industry, which means it is larger than film, TV and music combined.

It is estimated that there are 200 million global viewers of sports while 200 million more people watch it occasionally.

"In terms of commercial growth, e-sports is where the Premier League was in 1992, and we believe that 20 to 30 global e-sports brands around the world have this opportunity," says Kiran Mehta, an early-stage investor in Octopus Ventures. That would make them a multi-billion dollar business.

Such growth in brands and in the sector as a whole has also created job opportunities in recent years. Between 2018 and 2019, 87% more jobs related to e-sports were published on the jobs website Hit Marker.

Students at Staffordshire University have to have events during these three years.

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In the first year, they hold a single player event. In the second year they hold a multiplayer event and in the third year they are given the task of organizing an event on a large scale. This gives them many of the production and event management skills needed in the computer games industry.

Other universities have adopted different strategies. The University of Roehampton began offering sports scholarships last year and in August introduced the first 'Women in sports scholarships aimed at encouraging women to enter the sports industry.

"Students study in a number of degrees, including digital marketing, computer science and zoology, as well as receiving e-sports scholarships," said Jonas Contautas, coordinator of e-sports at Rohimpton University.

"It was done because many people in the industry think it would be better for someone to have a marketing degree and be interested in e-sports or have a scholarship," he says. To get an e-sports degree exclusively.

In its first year, the scholarship focuses on the best players who are in the top 1% of players in their respective games. The goal was to take these players to a semi-professional level so that they could be part of a team.

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This year the focus in the industry is on media, meaning students are being taught live streaming, content production, script writing, camera presentation and other such skills.


But Sam Mathews, founder and chief executive officer of Funatak, one of the most popular professional e-sports organizations, says a degree in e-sports does not necessarily get him a job at his company.


"It depends on what they do with their knowledge," he says. If they volunteer well, show that they are active, then this degree is as good as any degree. But the fact is that we do not currently employ e-sports graduates. We recruit people who are designers, copywriters or have specific skills. So I don't think it's as useful for e-sports teams as it is for a corporate company that wants to make its mark in e-sports.


Matthews believes that a person with a degree in sports can work under a marketing manager in a large corporate organization or with a league operator where their production skills can come in handy.


When it comes to sports teams, Matthews believes the hardest part is hiring people who specialize in the sport.

"Hiring scouts and experienced e-sports operators is the hardest job, while hiring a video editor or graphic designer is relatively easy," he says. We will not rely on a graduate to run our League of Legends team or for talent management, and this is one of the few areas we are trying to work on internally.


Funatak has also set up a new academy for students who want to be one of the highest paid gamers.

So is this industry really growing so much?

Analytics company news predicted that the industry would cross the 1 billion mark in 2019. But despite the growth, the industry is still in its infancy and many investors and entrepreneurs are beginning to feel that the sector is not where success is guaranteed.

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Kevin Cheung, one of Staffordshire University's sports course leaders, has experience working in the industry. According to him, five to six years ago, most of the investment was being made by teams.

"I don't think it was the best investment," he says. The financial gain was difficult because the teams themselves do not generate the most profit, most of the profit comes from entertainment.


"It's because when you think of e-sports, you see professional players in a big stadium with their teams behind them, but there's a lot more going on in the background. Examples include broadcasting and infrastructure.


Dr. Bobby Fletcher, co-founder of Staffordshire University's sports degree, says the department is going through the same challenges that the gaming industry was going through 20 years ago.


"The gaming industry didn't know how to make money and they made a lot of mistakes," he says. I see this date being repeated.

But Matthews thinks the majority of investors will stick to their investment for a long time and make a profit on it.

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He says: 'I don't think any investor came here thinking that their money would triple in a year. There will be some people who will suffer losses and this happens in every industry, but the majority of investors are here for a long time and the e-sports sector is not going to end.


In February, Hit Marker estimated that more than 20,000 e-sports jobs could be advertised by 2020, but Richard Hagen, managing director of Hit Marker, said that most of the damage to jobs was caused by Code 19 because The industry relies heavily on live events.


"The total number of new e-sports jobs reached a monthly low of 396 in June and has not improved since then," he said.

Richard hopes that this will increase over time and that when the lockdown is lifted and restrictions are lifted, there will be a small-scale revival in the industry.


But the global epidemic has not dampened the spirits of those who want to be part of the industry. Parth Cole Punjabi had applied to join the Staffordshire course in June this year. The epidemic was at its height at the time, and despite concerns about how the course would be taught with restrictions, he was determined to enrol.


Even though he doesn't know what kind of job he wants after graduation, Parth knows he wants to stay in the e-sports industry.

"I think my journey will be easier after graduation because the industry is growing and there are plenty of networking opportunities on our campus," he says.

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