Find out why this international school is building a dedicated world-class facility for eSports (electronic sports) online gaming to help its students become professional electronic sports gamers of the future.
Because it’s one of the fastest-growing industries of the future! It also has a young demographic base – children are attracted to multiplayer video games that enable them to learn to collaborate with their friends in order to strategise how they can advance through different levels.
Its popularity has resulted in global tournaments – some with significant prize money. These are live-streamed on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch, and they gain large global audiences. The potential for career development in this industry is huge, from players to software development, graphic design, strategists, coaches and team managers.
First step into the eSports industry
To ready its students for this fast-growing industry, XWA launched its eSports club in September 2021. The school says the programme has four objectives:
#1 Industry exposure: Students will gain a behind-the-scenes understanding of the industry and the broader ecosystem through eSports leaders and organisations. They can also use this as a starting point to explore other related industries and career fields to help them decide where their interests and futures lie.
#2 Student portfolio: eSports stands out as a unique differentiating item in a student’s portfolio of school activities; this can be an advantage seeking admission to the best universities in the world.
#3 Student engagement: eSports can motivate students to prioritise what’s important in their lives, set goals and exercise the discipline required to achieve them. The school adds that it’s a way to foster camaraderie through healthy competition and build connections across student groups, XCL schools globally and other schools in the region.
#4 Awareness building: The eSports programme provides an opportunity for parents, teachers and students alike to engage in discussions about gaming addiction, screen time, cyberbullying, online privacy and mental health with industry experts, counsellors and educators.
The school has also partnered with Team Flash, a regional eSports organisation to provide students with unprecedented access to the industry through its longstanding experience and vast network of teams, event organisers, game publishers, influencers, government associations and trade bodies.
Levelling up on online gaming skills
According to XWA, the fact that this will be a student-run club means there are opportunities for those involved to develop a whole range of soft and technical skills.
Leadership – as captains of teams and as student leaders
Teamwork – working together in running the club and towards beating competitors
Initiative – becoming agents of their own learning by pursuing their interests and bringing others along
Communication – coordination with other students, especially during intense mid-game situations
Discipline/time management – setting and prioritising goals
Sportsmanship – developing the right mindset for healthy competition
Decision making/creative thinking – including decisions that need to be made in-game as well as in the administration of the club
Strategy setting and scientific thinking – by understanding game mechanics, competitor strengths and weaknesses and team predispositions
Game design and development – through industry interactions
Organising leagues and events – from start to finish
Marketing – by promoting the club and its events
Broadcasting, streaming and SHOUTcasting
Sports psychology and health
eSports games & activities for all
Club members will be able to engage in a wide range of activities. For example, students of the club’s committee will be able to decide on running events for the club and inviting speakers to visit; they’ll also need to communicate with other members and the school’s student body, and liaise with other schools and partners. The committee will need to form and manage competitive intra/inter-school teams and organise tournaments both within XCL and with other schools.
Members will be able to attend special sessions by professional eSports players to gain insights into strategies, techniques and the mindset needed to take performance to the next level. Guest seminars will feature external speakers giving insights into the different aspects of the industry ecosystem, and there will be small group sessions too. The internship programme will link members to eSports organisations for behind-the-scenes industry experience.
Clearly, there is plenty to learn and enormous experience to be gained from the eSports club. The school says that this exciting opportunity is currently available to students from Grade 6 (age 12) and up. Students will need to present consent from their parents and homeroom teachers and meet certain academic requirements to join the club.
XWA isn’t the only school with an eSports club in Singapore, but it’s the first to build a dedicated facility for it. October 2021 saw a groundbreaking ceremony for the Secondary Years Innovation Hub, which will add around 16,000 square metres to the current school grounds. Slated to be completed by August 2023, the hub will be a state-of-the-art, multi-level, purposed Designed building, with specialised labs and the latest technology for learning, including a multi-use eSports arena to support the school’s club members.
At present, the XWA eSports club is based at The Garage, which houses 24 high-performance gaming stations, two flight simulator rigs, two racing rigs, four VR stations, a full-wall LED display, sound system, and a robotics and drone lab.
Designed to be multi-use, the space can also be utilised for lessons, training sessions, seminars and social events.
Hear from a student…
“I like playing video games, so I joined the eSports club because I wanted to meet like-minded students and try out professional online gaming PCs, which are much better than my laptop! I realised that there’s much more to gaming, such as learning coding and developing my own games one day. Being in the club helped nurture my creativity and design skills to build anything. Through the club, I met new friends and developed critical thinking, collaboration and coaching skills. One of my friends wanted to join a Minecraft competition recently, but she didn’t know how to play the online game. I taught her how to play and she became one of the winners! This made me feel proud.” – Emma Rossi-Naito, Grade 7
This article first appeared in the February 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!