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Esports - the future

Centre Lead, Katharine Pearce and guest writer, Nik Turner, Director of Education at Overworld, talk passionately about the future of esports.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with gaming and esports, it’s an industry that’s been growing rapidly year on year for the last two decades. Last year’s pandemic meant no live or televised sport, or many things that were part of everyday life. Perhaps one of the simple things that people missed most was communication, just chatting with other people. That’s why gaming has undergone a major boom with new people getting online and giving gaming a go for the first time. Many used it as a way of gaining new friends, becoming part of new communities and most importantly communicating with people outside of their bubble.

But what is esports? In it’s most basic definition esports is not just gaming, it’s gaming competitively.  Just like any other sport, pro-gamers work in teams, develop strategies and compete at the highest level, making hundreds, if not thousands of moves every minute.

Esports is undoubtably one of, if not the fastest growing digital industries in the world and it’s only going to get bigger. As of April 2021 the largest prize pool was 34.33 million U.S. dollars at The International 2019 in Shanghai; over 100 pro-gamers have become millionaires. Career change anyone?

In order to cater for a huge and growing skills shortage, AIM worked closely with industry experts and UKIE and in 2018 published the Level 3 Award in Esports Business and Industry Knowledge and the Level 3 Extended Award in Esports Business, Industry Knowledge and Tournament Organisation. The qualifications have been designed to support this rapidly growing international industry and to plug those skills gap so that Britain can continue to be a leading esports hub.

Overworld is one centre delivering both the Level 3 Award and Extended Award and have been working with AIM since 2019 and are now an AIM Investing in Your Future approved centre, an excellence kitemark awarded to organisations who can demonstrate a great company culture, delivering high standards of training and development provision to their own staff and/or other students. Overworld delivered the Extended Award in their bespoke esports facility prior to lockdown but as a result of the pandemic, have worked (with AIM’s support) to create and deliver the Award online, the first esports qualification to ‘go digital’, widening the scope for anyone to achieve the qualification.

Director of Education at Overworld, Nik Turner, believes it was the right thing to do.

Learners from Overworld with their certificates

We had a great course, a great qualification for an industry crying out for people with the skills and understanding of esports to enter the sector. When covid arrived we had to change our whole busines model and we used the time effectively to produce over five and a half hours of video tutorials with all of the resources to go with it so we could continue to deliver the Award online.

Unfortunately due to the nature of the course we were unable to deliver the extended award as setting up an in-house LAN tournament was not possible. But the award was well suited to a virtual model and now our learners can find out about the esports industry, its history, what careers are available, what the laws, rules and regulations are and how do the tournaments work.

It really is an opportunity for anyone to take their first step into a career in esports.

More details about the AIM Qualifications Level 3 esports qualifications can be found on our qualifications' webpage.

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