10:34 AM

New eSports Course Set to Help Gamers Level Up Their Streaming Skills

By Cris Hay-Merchant

As esports popularity continues to grow worldwide, two Bellevue University gaming gurus are helping the University level up by creating a new course focused on teaching students how to provide quality live streaming productions on streaming platforms like Twitch.tv.

Chris Vocelka, who will serve as course instructor, and Alex Rogers have developed “ESPT 110 Fundamentals of Streaming Media Production,” which will be available starting this fall through the College of Science and Technology. The undergraduate, three-credit-hour course fulfills BU’s General Education Technology requirement, and has no prerequisites.

“Streaming is an important element of esports,” explained Rogers, who coaches the Bruins eSports team. He said that gaming events, including competitive esports tournaments, are often delivered on specific platforms like Twitch.tv. Twitch, which was founded in 2011 and purchased by Amazon in 2014, is one of the world’s most popular online services for watching and streaming digital video broadcasts. The content streamed can be that of someone playing a video game, an  esports event,or other creative and IRL (In Real Life) content. Twitch.tv, for example, boasts 2 million-plus unique streamers every month, who access the service through an official Twitch app and website.

According to Vocelka, students who enroll in ESPT 110 will be among the first in the country to take an esports course outside of the game design realm. “Our focus will be to help students understand what you need to know and do to provide a quality streaming experience,” he said. “We’ll cover computer requirements and technology, as well as how to communicate effectively on streaming media channels.” To ensure the new course covers all the bases, Vocelka and Rogers have consulted with one of the world’s top livestreamers, Ben Lupo, who is better known by his gaming handle of “DrLupo.”

DrLupo is widely recognized as one of the top Twitch broadcasters, and frequently livestreams content from games such as Destiny and Fortnite. He has a following of more than 1.4 million followers on the Twitch platform and another 512,000-plus followers on YouTube. He also happens to live in Nebraska, which is what led Vocelka to reach out to him. “It’s been amazing working with him as we’ve built this course,” said Vocelka. “Thanks to DrLupo, the course is infused with true eSports culture and has a high standard of livestreaming production know-how built into its foundation.”

Vocelka points out that the course is open and will benefit any student – not just gamers – who want to produce high-quality streaming media content. Streaming was identified several years ago as a business trend to watch, and today consumer demand for both audio and video content continues to rise as people consume more and more entertainment and lifestyle content on mobile devices. In a study done by Livestream, 81 percent of audiences watched more live videos in 2016 than in 2015. And Deloitte’s annual digital media trends survey found that the percentage of U.S. households subscribing to a paid streaming video service grew a staggering 450 percent – from 10 to 55 percent – between 2009 and 2017. So, not surprisingly, businesses are recognizing that they can reach key audiences and improve their exposure as a way to boost sales. Across various sectors, companies are now using live streaming to enhance areas like marketing and customer service.

“We’re very excited about this course,” said Rogers. “The industry and businesses in general need content creators, media managers and other leaders who have the skills to produce quality live streaming events. This course will help enable that.”