Chinese Students Playing Esports at School
Esports are now becoming a facet of regular life: not only in gaming championships, on YouTube, and at specialized universities with esports scholarships, but even in high school. An example of this is in China, where Lanxiang Technical Students are learning how to play esports at the competitive level.
The school’s program was begun in September, as reported by the South China Morning Post, and was awarded with the enrollment of about fifty students. Now in their first year of study, they’re currently working at improve their skills in multiplayer games like Counter Strike, Over-watch, and League of Legends. In addition to practical play, they also receive theory-based lessons discussing the best tactics for winning out over their adversaries. LoL esports are particularly popular, as are Overwatch esports.
Once the first year is over, the students will be divided up into different groups. From that point on, only the best gamers are trained to become professionals. Meanwhile, those that haven’t been performing as well begin their training in other fields of the industry: event organizers, coaches, and promoters.
Tuition is about 2050 USED, or 13,000 yuan: only the best for the masters of LoL esports and Overwatch esports. However, those players that are good enough to join the school’s team don’t have to pay the tuition fees.
Lanxiang explains that, in the future, it would like to take up to 1000 esports players under its wing.
The Morning Post was able to secure an interview with Rong Lanxiang, the eponymous director of the school. He said, “At first, many parents thought it was just about playing video games. “In fact, it’s not the case. Esports is developing to a very high degree and it’s become an economic growth driver.” Indeed, the school is part growing wave to train new champions of esports, and to make more money off the rapidly growing industry.
Research has been carried out by various organizations regarding the success and future of the esports industry. For example, Newzoo, a firm specializing in market research, has estimated that this year will see the economy grow by some $905.6 million dollars, and it expects the global audience to reach some 380 million individuals. It also expects that 53% of esports fans will be from the Asia-Pacific region. China, it says, is especially important: it expects the country to develop revenus of some $164 million over the course of this year, with an audience numbering 125 million people in total. It also estimates that China alone would account for some 18% of the $906-million increase (which would represent a 38.2% increase from last year).
Senior analyst Jurre Pannekeet worded it like this: “China is notable for the growing popularity of mobile esports, including casual titles.” He explained that the Global Final of The Battle of Balls Professional League, an esports tournament, garnered some 13,000 viewers in Shanghai, with an additional 5 million viewers watching livestreams in China.
Meanwhile, iResearch, a China-based Internet research firm, hypothesizes that some 260 million people are already engaged in esports activities. In the largest tournaments, thousands of people watch in the stadiums—and tens of thousands watch on livestreaming platforms—as players deck it out in games like LoL esports or Overwatch esports.
Lanxiang Technical is located in the eastern part of Jinan, which is located in the province of Shandong. But it’s not the only institution of its kind: other schools and academies focus specifically on teaching kids how to play esports to the best of their ability. Esports is also a team sport at some 910 universities in China.
League of Legends is free to play, and it is one of the most played games in the world right now. It’s a MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) game in which players face off against each other in specialized environments. The game was so successful that, this past November, more than 40,000 people went to the Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing to attend the final of a tournament.
As for Overwatch and Counter Strike, they’re both FPSes (first-person shooters); Overwatch tells the tale of a motley group of soldiers and adventurers who work to restore peace in a futuristic world, whereas Counter Strike centers on the fight against terrorist activity.
Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), a survival-based game in which players must use all their stealth, skills and adaptation to fight and defeat each other, is also an important part of esports.
It encompasses several types of jobs other than player of games. Aside from coaches and event promoters, individuals can also become presenters, commentators, or event photographers, or they can work for the stage crew in the stadiums. The industry also requires the kind of personnel associated with all industries, such as people working in marketing, research, IT and computer science, accounting, and human resources.