Competitive gaming, eSports, is big business. The revenues are rising and the viewing figures going through the roof. So, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Garnes Vidaregåande Skole, a Norwegian public school in Bergen, has added eSports to its curriculum. Especially considering the addition of competitive gaming to the school day at isn't without precedent. In the summer of 2015, Arlanda Gymnasiet in Märsta, Sweden, introduced an eSports course running alongside more traditional physical education pursuits, and Norway's Folk high schools have also offered courses in acing Counter-Strike.
But nevertheless, the new three-year course at Garnes, which begins in August, shows how eSports is being taken seriously as a career path in certain parts of the world. Top eSports athletes can earn six-figure salaries, with the very best/luckiest players taking home pay into the millions. And Garnes isn't a specialist institution—it's a regular public school, open to anyone in the local area.
Garnes's program, according to a report on TheMemo.com, will see students spending five hours per week perfecting their skills across titles including League of Legends and Dota 2, in place of football and the like. They will be assessed to the strictest standards, with classes split between plenty of screen time and more physically demanding activities with an emphasis on developing reactions and endurance.
Ars Technica details what sort of gear successful applicants to the course can expect to get their hands on. The school plans to fill an eSports-dedicated space with "high-end PCs with Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti video cards," as well as special gaming chairs with a pizza delivery button, an oversized cup holder… Just kidding. Since nobody likes the feeling of slipping on a sweaty headset or using a sticky mouse, students will be expected to provide their own accessories. It's a small price to pay to for the privilege of slaughtering orcs in the name of education.