Electronic games are often seen as a distraction from schoolwork, but now, there’s a school course to study them.
Since this semester, Peking University has offered an optional course called General Theory of Electronic Games, which has gained popularity among students, reported The Beijing News. It was originally designed to accept 120 students, but around 200 attended the first two lessons.
However, the new course has caused discussions among those who believe it sets a bad example.
Some people believe that as the prestigious Peking University has opened a course on electronic games, students may believe it’s acceptable to play games rather than study, Zhu Wei, an associate professor from the China University of Political Science and Law, told China National Radio.
In response to these concerns, Chen Jiang, the course instructor, explained that the course isn’t designed to challenge traditional views.
“I like playing games, but I deeply understand the problems that games have caused,” Chen told The Beijing News. “I have a sense of mission. I want more students to know what electronic games are – the benefits and problems.”
Instead of teaching students how to play electronic games, the course will cover issues related to electronic games, such as research and development, technology and players’ psychology, according to Chen.
In fact, Peking University’s course on electronic games is nothing new. In 2016, the Ministry of Education included electronic sports, which is professional electronic gaming, as a new major for vocational schools. And in the same year, a higher vocational college in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region opened China’s first electronic sports course.
This new course at Peking University arrives at a time when China’s game industry is booming. According to an article published by Fortune in December, China’s video game market is the world’s largest and is expected to continue to grow.
And the booming industry has in turn impacted many Chinese people, especially the young.
According to the 2017 Blue Book of China’s Society, released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, more than 38 percent of Chinese people younger than 26 said their ideal job would be to work as a professional electronic gamer.
Despite this, Wang Dong, a professor from Shenzhen University, said it is necessary for universities and individuals to stay rational in view of the market.
“I hope the public can view electronic sports as a leisure activity and leave enough room for healthy development,” Wang told China Daily. “Parents and teachers should also help students choose majors that fit them.”