Ukie’s current esports initiatives include developing new esports qualifications and expanding our Digital Schoolhouse esports competition to give over 1,000 children from schools all over the country to compete against each other and get a taste of the wide range of roles that make up esports. And as the main point of contact for government policy and regulation relating to esports in the UK, we will be calling for more support from government for esports in this country. Here's what we've been upto in the esports space recently:
Playing the Game: The DSH tournament
At our AGM last month we were hugely excited to announce the return of the Digital Schoolhouse esports tournament. The tournament, the biggest inter-schools esports competition of its kind in the UK, will launch at the end of 2017 with regional heats across the UK and will host a grand finale in London as part of the London Games Festival. This year will see more than 1,000 pupils across the UK teaming up to take part for a chance to win a unique, money-can't-buy games industry prize.
The competition builds on the success of the inaugural tournament which ran from January to April 2017. Designed to demonstrate the power of games and competitive play in building confidence, team work, communication skills and perseverance, the event exceeded expectations; participating schools reported a rise in interest in games and esports-related careers during the competition, with 87% of participating pupils reporting a greater interest in studying computing and tech-related qualifications, and 75% of students reporting significantly increased interest in a career in the video games industry.
A year on from our 2016 esports Whitepaper: growing the UK as an esports hub, our policy team and esports sub group are busy updating the recommendations in the report to make it fit for the fast changing esports industry.
We were pleased to see this month’s Bazelgette Review of the Creative Industries in the UK featuring a positive reference to the growing UK esports scene, noting:
‘National recognition of esports: Raise the status of esports with government sponsored competitions, national teams, and media coverage, e.g. esports is now an official part of Asian Games. National teams and junior leagues can be a lever to attract foreign investment to sponsor esports clubs, build gaming stadiums, design high-end or next generation gaming equipment (e.g. virtual reality headsets).’
It’s excellent to see Sir Peter’s report matching the recommendation in our White Paper for government to work with industry on a joined up strategy to grow the sector, to offer a compelling trade and investment offer to attract big tournaments and enable UK esports companies to succeed overseas.
Growing esports membership
We’re also delighted to welcome the British esports Association as our latest member, joining other major stakeholders active in esports in the UK including: esports event organisers ESL, Multiplay and Gfinity; developers and publishers such as Riot Games, Hi Rez, Activision Blizzard and EA; broadcasters FaceIT; and teams and university leagues, Team Dignitas and the National University Esports League.
We’ll be working closely with the British Esports Association to grow the sector from the grassroots, collaborating on building the profile of the sector in the UK and inspiring the next generation into esports.