WITH THE formal launch of Lyceum of the Philippines and Tier One’s BS Esports course for the next academic year, debate has exploded anew on the merits of an educational track specifically dedicated to the industry.
Setsuna ‘AkoSi Dogie’ Ignacio, who has been involved since the Mobile Legends Professional League’s earliest days in the country as coach, manager, and entrepreneur, is worried about the job prospects for its graduates after graduating from the four-year course.
But first, the good things.
“Good side is, sumasabay siya sa hype ng esports industry,” he said in a nearly 17-minute vlog. As of posting, the video has received more than 600,000 views on YouTube. “Maganda siya, kasi ibig sabihin, lumalaki na ang esports industry, yung gaming sa bansa natin. Lumalaki na talaga guys.”
But would he allow his kid to take up BS Esports for a shot in this growing industry?
It’s a firm no.
The Nexplay coach laid down the hypothetical job market awaiting prospective graduates. “Pag nakapagtapos kayo ng BS Esports, ano ang pwede niyong mapasukan? Tier One? Rumble Royale? Nexplay? Bren Esports? Smart Omega? Or pwedeng sa Mineski Studio, Gariath Concepts, yung iba-iba pa diyan. Sabihin natin na overall, may 10 to 12 companies ngayon na active sa esports. Ilan ang papasok dun na estudyante?”
Interest has been quite high since Lyceum's formal launch. On the SPIN Life Facebook page, an infographic on Lyceum's course outline has been shared by almost 300 users.
In his estimation, Dogie believes that the local esports industry is still too young and too small to accept graduates with a very specialized college degree.
“Di ko pa nakikita nasa stable tayo. Yung subject na ‘yon is irrelevant, to be honest,” said Dogie, who is also heading up one of the squads in the upcoming MPL-PH All-Star Games. “Hindi siya stable. Nakakatakot e. Ilang kumpanya lang yun. Sa esports industry guys, super limited ang kumpanya. Alangan naman lahat gagawa ng team!”
His thoughts echo that of Bren Esports’ Ralph Andrei “Coach Leathergoods” Llabres, who posted a similar opinion in his Facebook page last weekend.
In his post, Coach Leathergoods asked what advantage graduates of a specialized BS Esports course possibly have over others who may have more general multimedia, marketing, or management courses who will also apply to these same companies.
“Hindi mo kailangan matapos ang BS Esports para makapasok dun. Mas pipiliin pa nila yung manager talaga,” emphasized AkoSi Dogie. “Ikaw na pinag-iisipan mo na pumasok sa esports as coach, as assistant coach, analyst, or any kind of thing sa esports, masyadong maliit yung market.”
In his presentation at the Lyceum launch as well as several other Facebook posts, Tier One CEO Tryke Gutierrez, who helped develop the curriculum for Lyceum, has repeatedly said that the BS Esports program was not a sure guarantee of job security.
In his own YouTube Channel, Gutierrez fired back with his own responses to Dogie's vlog.
“Ang pinaka-main na sinasabi ni [AkoSi Dogie], limitado yung opportunity," he explained. "Yung masasabi ko [is]... one hundred percent, [yes], if we’re just talking about the Philippines, and especially if we’re just talking about 2021. Pero gaya ng sinabi ni Lyceum, if you start a course in 2021, you’re preparing the future, which is 2026. Ano na ba ang itsura ng esports sa 2026?”
In his presentation at Lyceum, Gutierrez had emphasized that esports would grow into a “multibillion dollar” industry by 2023. Beyond that?
“Di ko pwedeng sabihin kung anong exact na itsura ng landscape ng esports by that time, what are the available jobs by then,” he said. “But in a digital space, naniniwala ako na esports is really the future of sports. With esports, we’re not just talking about teams. We’re talking about multiple companies — yung gumagawa ng games, gumagawa ng broadcast, gumagawa ng leagues.”
As to Dogie's point about the instability of esports, Gutierrez said, "Di ko masabi na esports is not stable. Naniniwala na ako that esports is coming to a point of stability. Tapos na tayo sa part na, hindi pa siya isang dekada, after ng pandemic, mas nag-accelerate pa yung growth niya."
The Tier One co-founder added, “Kahit sabihin mo hindi natin masasabi, ang sure kasi tayo, it’s going up, and that this is the future. Kung Tier One lang gagawa ng course, e di wag kayo magtiwala. Di naman kami school e. Pero if there’s another entity [like Lyceum] that believes it, ang sa akin lang, you have to trust the fact that this is necessary.”
Near the end of his vlog, AkoSi Dogie left it up to the viewers to decide for themselves on the merits of a bachelor of science degree on esports.
"At the end of the day, it’s your will, it’s your future, it’s your life," he said.