Korea has often been referred to as “Mecca of e-Sports,” for having one of the biggest e-Sports industry in the world. Korean professional gamers have won and ranked first on international stages for games such as StarCraft and League of Legends. Despite having such recognition from abroad, e-Sports has failed to achieve a positive recognition within Korea. Many perceive e-Sports as a mere entertainment, or a killing-time activity rather than an actual sport. However, universities in Korea have recently started showing efforts to educate students on e-Sports as they acknowledge the growing importance of e-Sports. Students are also showing greater attention to the e-Sports industry by developing online games and becoming amateur gamers.
Stance of e-Sports grows in Korean Universities
Starting from 2015, Chung-Ang University has been accepting e-Sports applications in their Department of Sport Sciences. This arrangement was designed to target professional gamers, and accepts two students every year. In order to be eligible to apply in the e-Sports division, gamers must either have a previous record of advancing into the semi-finals in domestic competitions approved by Korea e-Sports Association (KeSPA), or quarter-finals in international stages since 2012. Gamers are then assessed on their recieved awards which takes up 80 percent of the total evaluation, and the result of the performance test which takes up 20 percent.
Jeon Byeong-heon, the Chief Executive of KeSPA thanked Chung-Ang University’s decision to be the first university in Korea to accept e-Sports application in various interviews. After being appointed as the Chief Executive, he has actively made efforts to provide gamers with a proper education environment. He met up with various university officials to explain the importance and status of e-Sports in the current society, and that e-Sports related applications will allow schools to give better impressions and earn international recognition. Describing Chung-Ang University’s decision as “pioneering,” he mentioned that “e-Sports application will act as a new momentum to vitalize e-Sports education."
In the e-Sports application promotion video, president of Department of Sport Sciences mentioned that “he wishes to accept students who have the potential to help e-Sports play a leading role in society.”
The first students to be accepted as e-Sports applications were Kang Hyung-woo, a professional League of Legends player, and Jeong Se-hyun, a professional FIFA Online 3 player. They started their first semester this year.
Dongguk University also takes part in e-Sports through its Department of Multimedia Engineering. Their objective is to educate students on multimedia engineering, game engineering and computing, and ultimately help students become professional media and game content producers.
Students in Sangmyung University also became great contributors to e-Sports. Established in 2012, the Game Department within the College of Software Engineering helps students gain professional knowledge on games. There are three main educational branches in this major: cultural art, which includes factors such as designs and animations, engineering, which includes factors such as mobile network, and computer graphics and humanities, which includes factors such as marketing. While learning these, students are able to not only develop games, but also design them.