COLLABORATION

A collaboration that prepares students to excel in the esports industry

SOURCE: Brendan Smialowski / AFP
Esports Is a billion-dollar industry, and the right university-industry collaboration is essential to avoid a mismatch between the supply and demand of talent in the field.


By U2B Staff 

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The esports industry’s explosion into the mainstream shows no signs of slowing down, spurring a growing number of investors to plough money into this billion-dollar industry. 

According to data from Newzoo, a gaming industry analytics firm, global esports revenues will grow to US$1.1 billion in 2020, a year-on-year growth of +15.7%, up from US950.6 million in 2019.

Globally, the total esports audience will grow to US$495.0 million people in 2020, a year-on-year growth of +11.7% while mobile esports saw a huge spike in the past year, with emerging markets like Southeast Asia, India, and Brazil at the forefront of this growth, they said.

For the uninitiated, esports – or short for electronic sports – is competitive video gaming that features multiple players who battle each other in tournaments held all over the world. Legions of fans watch these tournaments by streaming them as players play in real-time. 

Filling a talent vacuum in the esports industry

 esports industry
Esports is a big business, and students need to be prepared to enter the industry with career-ready skills. Source: Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images North America / AFP

More universities are offering esport-related degrees to prepare students for future careers in the field, with many of these undergraduate or postgraduate degrees focusing on different aspects of esports, including in business or management. 

The university-industry collaboration has never been more essential to avoid a mismatch between the supply and demand of talent in the field.

Over in the US, the University of New Haven in Connecticut, US has recently announced a partnership with HyperX that will enable students studying esports to interact with the company’s senior leaders.

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HyperX notes on its website that they are a high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, the world’s largest independent memory manufacturer, in addition to sponsoring gaming teams globally.

Through the collaboration, the university will “receive state-of-the-art gaming peripherals”, while  students will also have the opportunity to interact with company executives and participate in HyperX product focus groups and the testing of the company’s newest offerings.

New Haven’s Esports and Gaming degree is an interdisciplinary major that is designed to prepare students who can think critically and anticipate future cultural, business, and technological changes and opportunities in this high-growth field.

As part of the collaboration, New Haven will receive gaming peripherals for its varsity esports team, and HyperX will be the official peripheral sponsor of the esports programme. The equipment will be used in the university’s new esports training and competition center, which is a centerpiece of its $35 million Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

The agreement also will enable six members of the university’s incoming class – who are part of their first-of-its kind programme in esports management – to travel to HyperX’s Orange County, California headquarters to work on an academic project related to consumer preferences in the gaming mouse peripheral category. 

The six students will also be trained on how to be elite product testers and have the opportunity to develop a remote product testing center for HyperX.

A timely university-industry collaboration

“HyperX has opened its doors to the University of New Haven and is enabling students from our College of Business to have access to the company’s senior management to share their insights as gamers and students in the interdisciplinary field of esports and gaming,” said Brian Kench, PhD, University’s College of Business dean. 

“This academic access to interact with executives of a gaming leader is unique in the esports industry.”

“HyperX is glad to be working together with a university that sees the value of gaming and esports management skills,” said Mark Leathem, HyperX general manager. 

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“We see the benefits of education and experience, and the University can help develop new leaders in this expanding business segment.”

In speaking about the collaboration, Jason Chung, BCL, LLB, assistant professor of sport management and executive director of the University’s esports programme, said New Haven’s students will have the unique opportunity to work on real-world product and management issues with HyperX leaders.

They will then travel to their Orange County offices to present their findings and solutions to senior executives, as well as benefit from job shadowing and mentorship opportunities.