E-sport becomes vocational school major

Updated: 2016-09-08 14:01

By Liu Jing(chinadaily.com.cn)

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E-sport becomes vocational school major

A young female player competes in an e-sports event in Taicang, Jiangsu province. E-sports are set for much bigger growth in China. [Photo by Ji Haixin / China Daily]

In good news for China's video game addicts and their parents, the hours spent playing video games could pay off after all.

The major "Electronic competitive sports and management" is listed among 13 new majors for vocational schools in China, according to the Ministry of Education. The major is put into the category of sports and education.

The e-sports major will be launched in vocational collages nationwide from 2017. Other new majors include "Early childhood development and health care", "Public welfare and charity management", "Music communication" and "Big data technology and application".

"The moment I had dreamt about endlessly has finally come," said Li Xiaofeng, better known as "Sky", who played Blizzard Entertainment's real-time strategy game Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. Li was dubbed "King of Human" and became legendary when he placed first at the World Cyber Games in both 2005 and 2006. He remained a top player in Warcraft and made around HK$1 million a year, before retiring last year.

His comments echoed many netizens' cheers:"finally playing video games is no longer considered as a waste of time."

In 2003, e-sport was officially recognized by China's General Administration of Sport as a sporting event.

The industry has been growing dramatically in recent years with more plentiful bounties and various league matches on campus. It has also become a hot topic after more Chinese teams shined in top e-sport events worldwide.

On August 14, a Chinese team secured the biggest prize in e-sports history after finishing first in an elite tournament in the United States. The five members of Wings Gaming shared $9.1 million after beating North American rivals DC three games to one in the final of the 2016 International DOTA 2 Championships, held in Seattle.

A vocational school in Xilingol, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, has become China's first school to offer related courses this August. The program was established under cooperation between the school and e-sport enterprises.

Li Ailong, who is responsible for the program and also the president of the Inner Mongolia e-sport association, told Beijing News the industry was experiencing a serious talent deficit. "It takes two to three months to train a new employee. The human cost is huge," Li said. He added that although the industry had great potential, most of the practitioners didn't have professional training.

Yang Shaohua, marketing chief for online streaming platform Panda TV, said the industry was not as big as many people thought. "E-sport is different from traditional sport, which has many categories such as football and basketball." Widely influential games are still very rare. "Therefore, the schools with e-sport majors should first work as trials and the feedback from society still remains to be seen."

Yang believed the schools should focus on training industry practitioners such as program directors and instructors instead of professional gamers.

Li Ailong explained that the prime time for a professional gamer is between 16 to 23 years of age, after which the gamers' reaction, receptivity and coordination decreases. However, the graduates of vocational schools in China are usually at least 22 years old.