WHILE gaming is still considered by many parents to be the enemy of their children's studies, Chinese university students are being encouraged to attend e-sports courses and even find a career in the sector.
That's because there are an estimated 260,000 vacant positions waiting to be filled in the Chinese e-sports industry, according to a university e-sports development report published on Thursday by the Network Film and TV Centre of the Chinese Communist Youth League in Beijing.
The jobs, however, are not to play games. With no shortage of gamers, authorities are trying to nurture professional game designers, coaches, tournament mangers and e-sports live broadcasters.
The youth league also announced the establishment of the Chinese University E-Sports League to help further boost the healthy development of e-sports, especially at the university level.
Through the national e-sports league, the youth league plans to facilitate and regulate the emergence of more e-sports clubs at China's universities and create more job opportunities in the e-sports sector.
“The purpose of having this report is to give the university student the right understanding of e-sports and to help the scientific and healthy development of e-sports in China,” said Yu Miao, vice-president of the China Youth E-Sports Competition. “We will build an ecosystem of e-sports and create more job opportunities.”
There were about 260 million registered e-sports gamers in China in 2017, but the number is expected to rise to 350 million in 2019, according to the report, produced with the help of CYEC, Tencent E-Sports and the Tencent team that supports the hit game League of Legend.
Also, 54.8% of the nation's e-sports gamers have undergraduate degrees, making university students the mainstay of the e-sports market.
The market value of China's e-sports sector had reached a whopping 20 billion yuan (US$3.15bil) in 2016 thanks to direct spending on games, copyright distribution, merchandising and other e-commerce, but the report indicates a looming danger for the sport – a shortage of talent.
“Many university students have an interest in e-sports, but they don't have the opportunity to get into the business,” said Bobby Jin, a senior manager of League of Legend at Tencent. “Through more university activities and tournaments, we hope that more students will get involved and have the chance to work in the e-sports sector.”
In September 2016, the Ministry of Education listed “e-sports and management” as a college major, paving the way for higher-education institutes to offer related courses and official diplomas. Many universities saw a promising future for the field and jumped in. — China Daily/ANN