China opens first League of Legends college
The first League of Legends university has been unveiled in the Songjiang University District of Shanghai, China.
This may seem a little silly or shocking to Westerners, but it was a logical next step for the Far East. League of Legends is THE sport in China and other Asian countries. A professional gamer in China is comparable to a professional football player in America. Professional League of Legends leagues are monitored by state-run agencies, have their own TV stations, are subject to anti-gambling laws and make teenagers into rich celebrities in China. Video game addiction is a recognized mental condition the way alcoholism is in the United States. People die from exhaustion, dehydration or conflict derived from video game playing every year.
It is a serious business, and a serious business needs a proper training ground.
As first reported (in english) by Kotaku, the state-of-the-art facility is surrounded on either side by seven other universities. “That’s no accident, because the training center plans to recruit applicants from the student population,” said the Kotaku report.
Chinese gaming site roll.sohu.com put together a large story (with several pictures) of the university. The story auto-translates to English pretty well. Sohu reports that Seven Huang Gaming Sports gave its first tour to students, parents and media members on April 7.
The university will feature everything you’d expect from a typical college campus. According to Sohu, the school “hired an expert nutritionist with international qualifications” to run the cafeteria. The university will also feature dorm rooms for those students who wish to live on-campus.
As for the classrooms, sponsors AlienWare and Razer supplied the computers and accessories. Korean gaming TV network OnGameNet is also one of the university’s sponsors and helped design the curriculum. The school promises significant one-on-one instruction, as all schools do, with an emphasis on developing important teamwork and leadership skills in addition to proper gameplay mechanics. Seven Huang plans to bring in professional e-sports players, coaches and broadcasters to teach master classes. The university appears to be open to recreational players, but it is definitely a vocational school looking to produce and mold the next generation of a specific profession.
The university will allow minors to enroll. All minors must have parental consent to enroll at the school, and parents are free to visit and observe the classrooms. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of the tuition costs or the availability of scholarships.
The Seven Huang university isn’t the first gaming instruction facility; master classes and camps are offered throughout the world. However, it does seem one of, if not the first official college centered around one specific video game. This is probably just the beginning. These facilities are going to pop up all along eastern Asia and eventually spread westward. The legitimacy of professional gaming is coming to all corners of the world.