It is the most modern way of making a living – and now north-east college students are to get the chance to break into the world of e-sports.
North East Scotland College (Nescol) is to offer prospective computer game designers a pathway to the burgeoning e-sports industry, as innovative plans gather pace.
The college has a strong track record in the computer games field, with established courses for learners at all levels, and is expanding that offering for 2021-22 by incorporating a focus on e-sports.
E-sports – where competitors play computer games against each other in front of a live or TV audience – is one of the fastest growing professional sports in the world.
There are forecasts of a global worth of more than £1 billion by 2023.
Scotland is set to play a leading role in that worldwide expansion, with a new 4,000 capacity e-sports arena planned for Dundee, and Nescol is forging plans to support the industry’s development as part of wider digital ambitions for the region.
In 2019, there were discussions about Aberdeen hosting an e-sports event at Pittodrie.
The college demonstrated its ability in the competitive sphere with victory in the College Development Network E-sports Scottish Cup in May – an event streamed to a global audience that raised the profile of Nescol as a serious player on the national stage.
The winning team comprised current computing students and the success has served as a springboard for the increased emphasis on e-sports as part of the college curriculum.
Applications are currently open for two courses that have been designed to appeal to the growing interest in the industry.
An SCQF Level 4 Computer Games Design course will incorporate an introduction to e-sports, explore video game characters, narrative and design, as well as the creation of an e-sports brand, organisation of an e-sports tournament and live-stream broadcasting.
This is equivalent to a National 4 qualification and is open to all with an interest in the computer games industry.
An SCQF Level 6 Computer Games Development course will bring students together to contribute to an e-sports organisation, create content and organise an e-sports tournament.
This is equivalent to a Higher qualification and entry requirements are four National 5 grades.
In this video, you can see an example of some of the current students’ games development work:
Duncan MacLeod, curriculum manager for interactive computing at Nescol, said: “Our course offering is constantly evolving and bringing e-sports to the fore has been a key part of our planning for the 2021-22 session.
“Although the new course content was in place before the Nescol team’s success in the national tournament, that has helped to shine the spotlight on the college’s incredibly vibrant computing scene.
“The games industry and e-sports are already an important part of the UK economy and will continue to create jobs and opportunities.
“Ensuring our students are equipped to play their part in that exciting future is essential, and we review our course content on a rolling basis to keep pace with a fast-moving sector.”