As most of you have probably seen while scrolling through your newsfeed on different social media platforms, an Esports curriculum is on its way to becoming a reality in the Philippines — creating mixed opinions and reactions among Filipinos.
This is made possible by a Philippine gaming agency, Tier One Entertainment, which is spearheaded by founders Alodia Gosiengfiao and Tryke Gutierrez. Some may not be aware, but famous cosplayer and gamer, Alodia Gosiengfiao, also works with the team as its Chief Creative Officer, so there really is a lot of excitement buzzing around about what should be expected in an undergraduate program which specializes in esports and gaming.
Along with Tier One Entertainment, Lyceum of the Philippines University is also working behind the scenes to accomplish an exciting task.
Esports is the modern-day arena for video game competitors of all sorts of platforms and/or consoles. It has taken the world by storm, but again, everything involving technology has its ups and downs.
The bright side of Bachelor of Science in Esports college degree
It caters to the interest of today’s generation
Admit it: hardly anyone plays outside anymore unless WiFi connection suddenly gets cut off. Kids (even adults) would rather while away their past time in a nearby computer shop, or at home virtually ‘bonding’ with others.
Although this may seem like a ground for laziness, an esports career might actually turn that screen time to something educational and worthwhile. Now, there will definitely be a reason for kids taking up an esports degree to observe online gaming and get a grip on its nature.
Provided that anything which involves online games or applications are a requirement for class, it should cater towards the interest of a generation technically attracted to virtual games and/or aesthetics.
It may inspire game developers even more
As we have smartphone manufacturing companies to suit the evolving taste for technology of the human society, so does game developers that strive to create better content on every video game platform.
What keeps game developers inspired in introducing new titles to the world, and listening to feedback for updates, are the millions of players who support their creation. One way of supporting them is by studying the factors and skills which an esport course might possibly offer.
From future game developers who could be part of one of the world’s biggest names in gaming (such as League of Legends’ Riot Games), to those who strive to become an ace player one day, developers will be more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise. Who knows? Maybe someone in the future could develop a game combining outdoor activities and virtual reality (looking back at you, Niantic).
It’s a way for the world to understand the esports community
Ever since online and video games became a popular past time for children (and young adults), parents cannot seem to understand what’s so special about them that young people need to spend so much time.
There have been endless parent-child encounters which advices the adults to spend their time with their young ones’ (online) gaming activities just to get an idea. However, it’s not just within the family where online gaming becomes an issue: it also becomes a concern for society.
The way society ridicule gaming as a “waste of time” would most probably ease up when a curriculum can prove that esports are not all just about fun and games. It wouldn’t be accepted as a worldwide phenomenon, much more a “sport”, if it was all going to ‘waste’.
By leaning esports towards an educational point of view, it might not be a bad idea to have your children grow and learn while doing the thing they love the most these days.
It paves the way for an evolving digital era
That only goes to say that people need to cope with the demands high-rise technology asks of their users. Who knows better how to untangle the ropes of technical terms and uses? Why, the future generation, of course.
When you come to think about it; the nation has now started to accept (short) courses on drone driving, digital arts and design, web developing, and other such computer-related programs. So, why not give the coming ‘esports track’ a go?
Anyone has to admit today that the young have so much potential working with technology that it isn’t too difficult to resist the thought of enhancing those skills towards another aspect of technology: games.
The negative side of BS in Esports college program
The possibilities of obsession
We’re dealing with a double-edged sword here when we talk about esports. Though turning it into an undergraduate program will focus more on education; the possibility of video game addiction still hangs in the air.
It’s because young people also tend to become out-of-focus when things get too interesting. Remember, too much good can also be bad, and we should not ignore the fact that games are still games; they still have a strong pull to mislead students between education and entertainment.
Perhaps this is one of the challenges for those who will take up the proposed degree in the future. It’s about finding balance on not becoming attached towards the games and/or applications being used and studied in a classroom setting.
It’s something that may not be taken seriously (at first)
If you have seen memes of a computer class where the students’ screens all had a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) screen shot displayed; then you might have guessed that a classroom setting which involves online games as lessons emerged even before Tier One and LPU thought about it.
In the past, people have speculated about the ‘what ifs’ of teaching strategies and techniques for each video game title, but again these were all meant as a joke. Who’s to say if it should be taken seriously now that it’s slowly becoming a possibility? But one thing we can’t deny, video games have its own benefits.
It seems like both the young and old are considering a Bachelor of Science in Esports in varied ideas. While some are actually looking forward to what this program could offer, majority are still kidding around about the concept—that is, stereotyping their lazy and ‘nerd-y/geek-y’ friends or family members to ‘enroll in this course especially made for them’.
The possibility that it will not be an acceptable career
As much as this curriculum is still under work (Gutierrez says it is 80% done, and that they are scheduled to pass the proposed curriculum to CHED come March), are you sure that parents are ready to let their children take up such a degree?
Let’s face it: the Philippines has seen a number of Filipino families who want their children to take up certain undergraduate programs which would make them ‘successful’ in the future, regardless if their children likes it or not. Our culture’s pretty strict about that, and there are some underappreciated college degrees being frowned upon. What more with esports?
We’re not jumping to conclusions, but it also remains a possibility that it will be another shunned bachelor’s degree just because ‘esports’ does not fare well with the traditional Filipinos. It may sound ‘cool’ and ‘unique’ to others (especially the generation of today), but will the esport tracks prove its worth once it’s out there, or will it just be another understated course?
It can be full of uncertainties
Once the curriculum for esport tracks get approval from the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), it will call out to its pioneers of students. From there, it will be more like testing the waters on how it will go.
Depending on the feedback and the experience, the course may meet challenges and changes along the way. It is a unique path to take, and the career which comes after it also depends if the country can easily provide a sort of stability for continuous practice of skills acquired and enhanced.
Even during the student’s stay within the course could be full of uncertainties. They could lose interest, especially those who took it out of curiosity.
Success for both the curriculum and the student comes when the program is able to achieve its goal, and the student is able to accomplish the course while balancing education and play.
There really is something to look forward to, especially when you come to think how the Philippine education is slowly accepting technology not just for entertainment, but as a field that needs proper studies and attention.
Sure, it may take on the form of online games — something which is definitely unique — but if it’s what caters to the youth and brings out the best in their capabilities; perhaps it is a concept which can be compromised. Provided there is guidance and focus, an esports track could unlock the creative, technical, and innovative potential not just of young people, but of differing generations.