Missouri Western sets up esports academics much more than a game | Education

For the past year and a half, Missouri Western has hosted a competitive video game program with a primary focus on hosting a competitive team with other schools. This effort continues, now with an academic discipline in esports.

Organized under the direction of Professor Justin Kraft, specialist in exercise science, the university is committed to training students in a variety of courses peripheral to the organization, promotion and participation in tournaments. esports. A research project titled Global Esports Market Report estimates that the industry was worth $1.1 billion in 2020 and could reach $2 billion or more this year.

“They actually don’t come here to study video games,” Kraft said. “Speaking from my own background – I’m from a slightly older generation – I’m not a gamer. My interest in the academic discipline of esports isn’t in the game itself, it’s in how to help students generate a livelihood based on the passions of others.To get involved in esports management, I would actually say that you wouldn’t need to be a gamer at all.

Esports professionals can work as tournament managers, brand ambassadors, salespeople, and arena administrators, to name a few options, and information about these opportunities is contained in the Sports Management major. Western Missouri Recreation – Esports Concentration. Registration for fall 2022 is available now.

Of course, the ability to play high-level games is built into what’s happening here, and Luke Theis oversees that from the large MWSU Esports Arena within Blum Union on campus. Recently named permanent head coach and director of the university’s esports team, Theis is also completing graduate courses that will prepare him to become a college-level instructor in industry opportunities.

He said he intends to go about it with the same intensity as he approaches his coaching role. A former Griffon soccer player, Theis leads his team through physical drills as much as he works with them in mental preparation.

“Students really appreciate it because they realize they have an opportunity – just like a traditional sports athlete – where they have workouts, they have study tables, they get resources that can be with other universities and their esports programs. don’t understand,” Theis said. “Here they are respected as athletes. I want to make sure they work hard to earn that respect.

The mission remains focused on opening people’s eyes to the reality that it takes more than a keyboard and mouse, or controller, to succeed in the professional esports arena, assets that Missouri Western can to supply.

“We started building the foundations,” Theis said. “We have movement. Making it a force to be reckoned with is the big thing we want to do. We want to be well known.