Valve’s highly successful Massive Online Battle Arena Dota 2 has been such a success that millions of people around the world play it every day. Although the game is mostly played casually and for fun, some gamers have made it a living, playing it competitively and making a lot of money doing so. Many, if not most, of these players live in China, a country that has been at the forefront of competitive gaming for years and is now teaching eSports in its schools.
The relationship Chinese people have with Dota has blossomed to the point where Dota 2 has become a subject of study in schools. That’s right — Dota 2 is now being taught in schools, with The Chongqing Energy College being just one of several schools that offers courses aimed at teaching students about the game, as well as about the growing sensation that is eSports.
Chongqing’s Dota 2 course is aptly called “Recent Development of Electronic Sports and Analysis of Dota” and gives students a very descriptive idea of what the can expect. Although the class is held weekly and accommodates “just” 90 students, more than 200 are reportedly flocking every week to attend it, giving us the strange and comical image of a crowded classroom with some students looking in on the lecture from outside.
The course sounds fun, but its agenda transcends both Dota 2 and eSports. Studies have shown that playing video games can improve your coordination and reaction speed, among other things, a fact more and more public officials are starting to acknowledge.
What Chongqing and other universities are hoping for is that students will take what they learn from Dota 2 — a team-based game that requires cooperation and coordination — and apply those skills to real world situations.
Needless to say, China’s Dota 2 course is an apparent success and looks to have staying power. It’s a shame that gaming courses are still are oddities in most schools around the world.
You and I probably have some of these skills down pat, but there is a lot more we can learn. Would you want video gaming courses offered in your country and/or at your school? Let us know in the comments.