Competitive gaming, eSports, is big business. The revenues are rising, the viewing figures going through the roof. So really, this news shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. Should it?
No, not really, as the adding of eSports to the school day at Garnes Vidaregåande Skole in Bergen 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 very 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' programme, 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 association 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 is to fill an eSports-dedicated space with (and we quote) "high-end PCs with Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti video cards", as well as special gaming chairs – pizza delivery button, oversized cup holder, just kidding. Students will be expected to provide their own mice, headphones and other things that might get, y'know, sticky under pressure.
Be fair, nobody likes the feeling of slipping on a sweaty headset. Just ask your average helpline jockey or bingo caller. And once it's on, you're stuck with it. Festering, in front of all those people. Two little ducks, oh Jesus get this off my scalp.