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  • Writer's pictureKevin Mitchell

Collegiate esports is a rapidly evolving field where staying ahead of the curve is crucial to success. Navigating the terrain can be tricky unless you have a game plan. The term meta is used in gaming to refer to the strategy used by a player to defeat an opponent. In 2023, campuses must unlock their collegiate meta and develop a strategy for collegiate esports success.

This meta can provide institutions with a roadmap to navigate the challenges of the marketplace and create programs that support growth and success for their students. Here are five areas for colleges to consider when making their game plan.

  1. Curriculum Development: A well-designed esports curriculum is critical. Colleges should build their curriculum around the school's core academic strengths and identify faculty members who can adapt their existing courses to esports versions.

  2. Experiential Learning: Incorporating experiential learning into course planning gives students valuable experiences that will enhance their skills and prepare them for the job market. Competitive esports experience also helps students develop skills applicable outside the industry.

  3. Collaborative Learning Approach: By taking a collaborative approach to learning, departments can help students form individualized lesson plans and provide opportunities to explore academic interests outside of their majors without taking additional credit hours, leading to a better educational experience for all.

  4. Innovation: Teaching design thinking and lean start-up methodologies can help students develop innovative growth strategies to help the industry find a pathway to monetization

  5. Social Intelligence: Understanding global nuances is essential for developing effective engagement strategies in a global market. Promoting social sciences and cultural intelligence prepares students for success in a diverse world.

Institutions can open new student opportunities through innovation, experiential learning, collaborative learning, and social intelligence. To succeed in esports, colleges and universities must Unlock Their Collegiate Meta. #esports #education #collegeesports

Emerging technologies, career development, and start-up incubation can radically change the world of education, and these technologies and programs can transform the landscape of college esports education. Innovative technologies such as Generative AI can revolutionize market research, content creation, and business development by generating new ideas, analyzing market trends, and creating streamlined content.

In addition, start-up incubation can be an essential component of esports education by providing students with the tools and resources to become entrepreneurs. This can be pivotal in ensuring the sustainability of the esports ecosystem, creating new job opportunities, and helping to ease market uncertainty.

Career development and workforce training are also essential for college esports students to succeed in tech and other emerging industries. Creative experiential learning programs connected to esports ecosystem stakeholders can help students gain real-world experience and develop essential skills.

The FIFA Digital Skills Program and Penn State's Brand Academy are excellent examples of adaptive educational programs that prepare athletes for life after competition. Students can benefit from college esports programs that combine innovative learning models, emerging technologies, and career development, such as technology management and lean start-up methodologies.

By incorporating emerging technologies, career development, and start-up incubation into their programs, institutions can give students the tools they need to succeed in this exciting field. These topics provide students with new opportunities to learn, develop their skills, and prepare for careers in the tech industry, making them critical areas of focus in today's education landscape.

The College Esports Expo is partnering with the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) on an Esports Innovation program to address the challenges facing college esports program development and the rapidly changing tech and gaming industries.

This program will provide college students with a path to career development, workforce training, and entrepreneurship opportunities. With experiential learning programs, workshops on the business of esports and lean start-up methodology, and networking opportunities with companies in the esports industry, students can gain a competitive edge in the job market and be better prepared for the future of work.

Amid market uncertainty in tech and gaming, programs like Esports Innovation offer a way forward for college esports students. The outlook of college esports education is bright, and we are excited to be a part of this rapidly evolving landscape. Join us at the College Esports Expo on March 22 in Boston for more information about this exciting new program.

College esports has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a niche hobby for a few students on campus. With the rapidly growing popularity of competitive gaming and the increasing number of universities offering esports programs, it's clear that college esports is here to stay. However, despite its potential, the current model for collegiate esports needs a significant overhaul.

College esports were traditionally organized like college sports were organized and focused on media deals, big sponsorships, organized tournaments, teams, and rivalries that mimicked the college sports model. But this approach must include the unique nature of esports and the diverse range of interests and skills of today's college gamers. We must consider two key points as we reflect on our origins.

  1. A college gamer today comprises a variety of complex and multi-dimensional personas that look very different from Wally and Beaver. Their palette now includes multiple gaming titles, music genres, a broad spectrum of influencers, social media platforms, streamers, content creators, cosplayers, cultural preferences, and a sliver of post-covid traumatic stress disorder. Campus communities are complex microcosms of society, so engaging students isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition.

  2. As an organized and thriving industry, college sports have taken over a century to develop into what it is today. Yet, it still faces disruptions, such as the NIL, super conferences, and Title IX. The path to collegiate esports growth remains stagnant when the only playbook revolves around replicating the college sports model. There is a long way to go until we see ESPN college game-day tailgating, broadcast TV deals, stadium naming rights, and an esports pep rally. The college market needs time to evolve. College esports players, educational institutions, publishers, and key stakeholders must collaborate on issues related to student career development, workforce training, and monetization pathways.

Amidst the recession and the dissipation of mid-pandemic hype, esports must pursue monetization rather than settle for illusions of grandeur. In these uncertain times, pivots are more imperative than ever before, and it's time to think outside the box and look beyond the preexisting models. The design of college esports should be rethought to maximize its potential instead of serving as just a recruiting tool. For college esports to succeed, we need innovative approaches incorporating experiential learning, entrepreneurship, and the latest technological advancements. In the upcoming edition, we will take a closer look at how we can continue our journey.

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