An increasing number of universities are offering game related courses in their curriculum. In contrast to the parliament and government’s continuous arguments over game regulation and its downsides, research on development of game education keeps gaining attention in academia.
The emphasis on game is not a new phenomenon. In the 1990s when the online industry was rising and Korea started earning its status in IT power, the attention reached its peak and universities opened more than 90 game related courses during the time. After its peak, the number started to decline. According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, as of 2013, only 29 universities had courses related to games. These days, however, the industry is gaining its recognition once again.
Universities are putting efforts to raise professional game talents to meet the rising demand in the industry and society. Some universities started providing game related courses and others devised a new admission process to select and nurture game talents.
Ewha has been putting efforts to lead the trend since 2002 when it established the Division of Digital Media in Graduate school that provides lecture such as Ludology Theory, or game theory and Visual Image Analysis. Seoul National University, Soongsil University and Chung-Ang University are now also joining the trend.
Seoul National University newly implemented Software major in the Information and Culture Technology, a collection of interdisciplinary majors for students who are studying in the Department of Communication. An interdisciplinary major allows students to attend courses in the field other than their majors. Although there were already some game related courses such as Understanding Business and Serious Games, it is the first time for the university to implement a Software course that provides practical and actual experience. Students are now able to develop mobile applications or game programs during class hours and get financial support for their own start-ups. In addition, Seoul National University signed a contract with Neowiz, a game company, and is planning to do the same with Samsung Data Systems to benefit students. Soongsil University is also enhancing game related education in a different way. Recently the school scouted Lee Jae-hong, the president of Korea Game Society, to teach in the
Department of Creative Writing from this semester. Professor Lee, who believes that game industry is a key to the creative economy not only teaches literature, but also focuses on story telling education such as game, film and animations that are necessary for the game field.
“Game is a precious culture that cannot be left out in anthropology,” professor Lee said. “We need to work hard so that the industry revivies and people can have positive outlook of games.”
Professor Lee believes game education has a great potential for university students, industry and the overall society.
“Korea does not have much natural resources but game has provided many job opportunities to the students and it has become a distinctive industry without much support,” professor Lee said. “ Something like this is a real potential to a society that highlights creative growth.”
Chung-Ang Unviersity also newly devised “E-Sports” section to select prospective students starting from 2015. E-Sports which stands for Electronic Sports, is a kind of sports that is conducted online. Starcrafts and FIFA, a famous soccer game online, are representative e-sports.
“E-sports is much supported by teenagers and people in their twenties,” Jun Byung-hun, the chair of E-Sports Association said. “The academia realized the need and importance of a new kind of sports in this digital era.”
The association plans to actively support the students in various ways including providing scholarships to invest in nurturing E-Sports professionals.