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Staffordshire University launches UK's first esports degree

Three-year course is dedicated to the business of esports

Staffordshire University will run a degree course for esports.

The BA (hons) Esports course will look at the business and cultural of aspects of professional gaming. It's all part of the university's video game initiatives, which includes the expansion of its gaming facilities at its Stoke-on-Trent campus.

The degree starts in September 2018, and follows other international esports degrees, including one from the University of Nevada - although that one is more specifically linked to the casino industry.

Rachel Gowers, Academic Dean for Recruitment in the Business School from the University of Staffordshire said: "Over 73 per cent of those employed within esports are under the age of 35 and their skills are in demand. Companies are looking for people who are entrepreneurial and tech savvy and the industry is driving the creation of new jobs.

"The course focuses on the business and culture of esports from developing teams, communities and a fan base to hosting esports events. All students will get to visit an esports arena and we are also offering a number of exciting scholarship opportunities for competitive players."

The UK course is a response to trade body UKIE's recent white paper into esports.

"The module, which is available to students on our Games Studies course, is a fascinating branch of cultural studies," said head of games and visual effects Dr Bobbie Fletcher. "It looks at the national, and international market for esports, and the cultural aspects that drive it as well as the darker side of cheating and doping by esports players. Games designers are growing up and that brings with it new trends in gaming which comes with its own set of ethical dilemmas.

"Plans to grow the UK as an esports hub brings huge opportunities in job creation and we are well placed as a University to explore that."

He added: "Universities are seeing significantly greater number of attendees at Open Days in these subject areas because games are big business and parents and teachers no longer try to steer prospective students away from degree courses. Parents are the generation that have grown up playing computer games and there's now acknowledgement that it is a viable career route." 

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Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who
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