ESL and the University of York have announced a new collaboration to make teaching and research for esports a reality.
The partnership will allow the University of York to offer UK-based teaching and research tailored to the growing esports industry.
The collaboration includes Digital Creativity Labs, an £18 million research initiative focusing on the convergence of digital games and interactive media and one of the biggest games research labs in the world, the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television and the Department of Computer Science.
The collaboration has three key areas of focus:
ESL will hold regular masterclasses with University of York students, including workshops and taster days. The University of York will align its teaching offerings with the needs of the industry, while also offering BSc & MSc dissertations on esports. ESL and the university are also co-designing an elective module on esports content production as a third year, credit-bearing module, aiming to launch in autumn 2018.
Alongside a substantial investment by DC Labs in research into future innovations in the esports industry, the collaboration will also see PhD internships take place through the Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI) PhD programme and Digital Creativity Labs.
Esports research already explored by DC Labs includes AI, human-computer interaction, interactive storytelling, data visualisation, game analytics, behavioural psychology and more.
ESL internships will provide hands-on experience for outstanding undergraduate students, while industry placements will be available for selected PhD students.
“We’re incredibly excited to be entering into a partnership with the University of York to help develop fresh new esports talent,” said James Dean, MD of ESL UK. “We’ve always been committed to creating opportunities for more people to enter the industry and now, with the help of the University of York, we’re looking forward to being able to help make sure the future is even brighter and better than it is now.”
Peter Cowling, Director of the Digital Creativity Labs at York and Professor of Computer Science, added: “High growth rates have seen games overtake film in terms of market size. Esports shows similarly spectacular growth. Our collaboration with ESL provides us with an exceptional opportunity to pioneer highly relevant, impact-driven research in this area.”