Inside Look at New WPU Degrees

Esports Player image created by Florian Olivo from Unsplash

By Georges Abi-Aad

As the simulation and game design program, or SGD, continues to expand at William Peace University, other areas of gaming such as esports are starting to gain attention.

As of this fall, WPU has introduced both the esports & gaming administration degrees, as well as the interactive design bachelor’s degree. 

In the past, developing video games have been associated with the stereotype that it is not a “real job.” However, exponential growth in the market for video games in recent years has helped to debunk this stereotype.

Now, esports must come to face similar challenges to break similar stereotypes. 

The worldwide esports industry is estimated to grow at a rate of 400% within the next decade, to reach a value of a little over $4 billion dollars, according to Data Bridge Market Research.  It is almost certain that careers in esports are here to stay. 

“I encourage them (skeptics of esports) to do more research and understand that with esports and gaming administration we’re just in the infancy of it, and it’s continuing to grow at a very rapid rate,” said Roger Christman, department head of for communication and simulation and game design. 

Not only is the industry for Esports expanding immensely, but the degree goes further than just video games and into a world of business, said Christman, who oversees the new degrees. 

Just like any other professional sport, the skills needed to coach a team and market the event is reliant on the type of game that is being played.

“But beyond that, it’s going to be the understanding of distribution, the backbone, the servers, and the infrastructure of any kind of competitive environment or place that will be necessary to facilitate the throughput of that of that game or the needs for that game at a competitive level,” said Christman.

Introducing Interactive Design

 

A UX Designer Drawing A Wireframe for a Mobile App
UX Wireframe by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

 

The interactive design degree is another innovative major new to WPU. 

Interactive designers are crucial to our ever-evolving technological world. They solve design problems from phone applications to gaming and education. 

“Look at the pocket computers (cell phones) that we all carry” and the application “of that user design and user experience,” said Christman. 

As the interactive design and user experience skill sets grow in value to most modern companies, the number of job opportunities available rises as well.

“We want to bring that here to Peace because our community demands it, and we want our students to be prepared for those kinds of careers, rich career fields are seeking employees with interactive skills,” Christman said. 

Similar to esports, career fields such as marketing look towards excellent interactive design, and the industry is growing at a fast pace as technology evolves. 

“It’s taking a lot of the elements of graphic design, except just accelerating them to where we’re gonna be with the technology,” said Christman.

Interactive design is needed for any company that has external communications or works with the development of applications. Designing efficient ways for users to interact with the company’s products is the best way to remain forward-facing and innovative.

Some of the leading companies in the world that desire employees with skills in interactive design include Google, Apple, and just about any company that deals in advertising.

Looking Ahead

Over the years, the gaming and design fields have faced stereotypes, from video games causing people to be more violent in real life to graphic designers being socially awkward to both areas not being treated as a “real job.”

What both the esports and interactive design degrees do in conjunction with SGD is not only educating the new generation on gaming and technology, but encouraging them to not be afraid to turn their hobbies into professions.

As WPU takes these steps toward creating more gaming and design-related degrees, a wide variety of unbridled talent in the form of creative students wanting to take their passions to the next level will take those degrees head-on.