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The first vocational school in western Japan to train professional athletes of “e-sports,” which regards video gaming as equivalent to physical sports, will open here in April 2018.
Students will be able to develop playing skills, improve their reflexes and learn how to handle interviews, school officials said.
The Osaka-based Jikei Group, which operates vocational schools across the country, will set up an e-sports department at its Osaka Communication Arts College in the city’s Nishi Ward.
The three-year program will offer at least 900 hours of classes each year and charge 1.52 million yen ($13,400) in tuition fees annually.
The group established an e-sports school in Tokyo in April 2016.
“We train students with the same thinking as professional athletes,” a spokesperson said.
Electronic sports, or e-sports for short, became popular after video game competitions with cash prizes started being held in the United States, Europe and South Korea in the late 1990s. Business activities related to game viewing, online streaming and advertising are on the increase.
The number of pro-gamers is increasing in Japan in tandem with the growth in e-sports tournaments organized by video game companies and others in recent years.
According to a survey conducted by U.S.-based research company SuperData LLC, the global e-sports business was worth $892 million in 2016, with the worldwide market expected to expand further.
(The Asahi Shimbun)