Following the announcement of eSports being included as a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games, the industry has been gaining more and more attention. This made possible the launching of the first ever eSports Academy in Singapore through a collaboration between Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association(Scoga) and streaming website, Twitch.
In addition, a diploma program has also been launched by Informatics Academy. It aims to impart skills on game development and design theories, live-streaming production, eSports knowledge, and coaching/team management. It is also supported by some major developers and companies namely, Riot Games, ESL Asia and Twitch.
It’s true that the eSports scene is definitely flourishing, but what does this really mean for gamers and eSports enthusiasts alike?
“It’s not just a hobby”
Generally, this means that players won’t have to waste money in internet cafés to play/hone their skills anymore because there is now a proper place where they can learn and practice. By being enrolled in an academy, players can showcase their abilities and talents while also learning scholastically. So those who alternate schoolwork and play don’t have to worry too much anymore. This also helps parents to be more accepting of gaming to not be just “a waste of time” but as a legitimate career that their children can pursue. We should then be able to acknowledge eSports as a career path that can be both academic and/or vocational.
Not just for players
eSports is not just about the gamers, it’s involves a lot of different fields in the industry. This is why the academy also includes lessons on live-streaming, shoutcasting (live commentators), and etc. Tournaments are one of the reasons why there are so many gaming enthusiasts around the world. If people can’t make it to the venues (e.g. it’s abroad), they can simply watch broadcasts. And broadcasts would also not be possible without live-streaming production teams. Schoutcasters also contribute to a lot of hype in tournaments. They can be especially important when the game becomes fast-paced and there is a need for analysis and live commentating. Learning to coach teams could also prove to be a worthy career. Even coaches like kKoma of three-time League of Legends world champions SK Telecom T1, has become as popular as his players.
Because there is a legitimate demand in the industry itself, sponsors and advertisers have invested in a lot of eSports teams and players. This also isn’t the only way team organizations earn money. In the 7th iteration of the major DotA 2 tournament, The International, the total prize pool was a whopping US$24,787,916. Singaporean DotA 2 superstar, Daryl “iceiceice” Koh Pei Xiang also already has above one million dollars in overall winnings in his pocket. League of Legends developer, Riot Games, has a different approach on the other hand. Riot provides professional players with salaries instead of directly raising the prize pool.