The University of Hawaii at Manoa is preparing students for a career in the esports industry.
Esports is a fast growing industry surrounding competitive video games. According to statista.com, the global esports market revenue was valued nearly at $865 million in 2018. By 2022, the expected value to reach is $1.79 billion.
At the UHM’s School of Communications, graduate assistant Nyle Sky Kauweloa hopes to share his interest in the industry by teaching his course, Esports and Society. He covers the rapid growth and importance of the industry.
“If we talk about esports as an academic program, we’re talking about creating courses, creating modules that perhaps exist within different courses that touch upon different facets of esports,” Kauweloa said.
In his course, students study the field as a new form of mainstream entertainment. Topics include the structure of esports and its competitions, new technologies in this field, general concepts, and ethical issues and concerns.
“No longer is it just two people playing competitive games but it’s the whole ecosystem that supports this entire sort of industry,” he said.
Kauweloa hopes to provide support for his students — not only as competitive gamers, but to also encourage them to create their own pathway in this field. This includes being a web developer, a commentator, analyst, content creator, social media, sales, nutritionist, and more.
“We will be attracting students to this university with an amazing esports program including the classes that we’re offering in esports again not in how to game but what esports is and what it means economically and socially for society,” said UH President David Lassner.
The university is also preparing to send its first esports team to a tournament for the first-person shooter game Overwatch, which is set for April 16.
UH Manoa communications senior Kevin Nguyen has been in the esports scene at UH, even holding the Co-President title of the Manoa Academy of Gamers — a gaming organization at UH that houses the university’s esports Overwatch team.
“I want to give students the opportunity that I struggled with trying to get,” said Nguyen. “I want to make sure that when they grow up they can go up to their mom and their dad and say look there’s this great program here at the University of Hawai’i, I can promise you that it’s a very secure path.”