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Another kind of sporting challenge

Updated: 2018-01-03 07:37:52

( China Daily )

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The National Electronic Sports Open is held at Sichuan University in Chengdu in December. Sichuan province has been attracting China's top esports players. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Esports is now a new academic option in universities, and students are opting for it in droves. Jiang Yijing reports.

Playing video games is not merely a hobby for many Chinese youngsters. With the country's booming gaming industry, electronic sports is now becoming a new academic option in universities.

Hu Yifan is one of the first 20 students of the game design major at the Communication University of China in Beijing.

More than 900 candidates applied for the major, but the 18-year-old from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, got a high score on the entrance exam, thanks to his experience organizing esports competitions in high school.

The School of Animation and Digital Art at the Communication University of China started the major in 2017, with the aim of developing students' capacity in game design and esports management.

The school started degrees in game design in 2004-it was one of the first in the country to do so-and has kept updating its courses over the years.

In the first few years, cultivating graphic designers and game programmers were the major goals, says Chen Jingwei, the head of the school's game design department.

However, the major launched in 2017 is to cultivate talent in designing game narrative. That, Chen says, is the soul of a game and requires a blend of skills in both creativity and technology.

Students require not only talent in art but also capabilities in communication, teamwork and logical thinking, says Chen.

Li Meng, a graduate of art design from the School of Animation and Digital Art, now works as an image designer in the internet technology company NetEase in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Recalling her days at the university, the 23-year-old says the course involved a lot of discussions and cooperation with students of programming design whenever they worked on a project.

Meanwhile, the teachers have kept updating the courses to keep up with the rapid development of the gaming sector, says Chen.

Besides designing games, students also learn how to host esports competitions in terms of broadcasting and commentary.

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