Ever find yourself thinking that you would like to work in the eSports industry? Maybe you don’t have the skills to be a professional player, but are interested in being an eSports broadcaster? You might be asking yourself, “how do you even get a job like that?” Well, here’s some news from Polygon that might help steer you in the right direction. Florida’s Full Sail University, a school famous for its video game design bachelor’s and collegiate eSports club, offers a general sportscasting program that because of this closeness with video games, meshes with eSports in a way that most schools don’t.
Gus Ramsey is the director of this program and is a 21-year veteran at ESPN. Again, while his sportscasting program is not specifically aimed at eSports, Ramsey notes that there are a lot of “opportunities” to develop and hone the skills required through his course. In their interview with Polygon, he and his staff discussed some of the challenges that current eSports casters face and at the same time, what students can expect to learn through their program.
According to Ramsey, part of the problem with some of today’s most popular eSports games is that compared with traditional sports, the action is much faster and more constant. While this is definitely a huge part of the appeal of eSports, it’s something that may make it more difficult for a caster to highlight which specific moments are actually more impactful.
“The first moment of the first map in something like Call of Duty may not be as important as the fifth map,” he offered. “So if you expend all of your energy on the first map, you’ve got nowhere to go at the end of the game. It’s about helping them understand the balance of that. The biggest challenge I see with Overwatch and Call of Duty’s people is they feel the need to keep up with the pace of the game. The Overwatch guys are constantly talking fast. I try to encourage them to slow down and understand what the audience is seeing happen, and you don’t have to describe everything you’re seeing.”
Another problem that Ramsey discusses is the idea that a lot of eSports broadcasters provide commentary in a way that assumes all viewers have a very solid understanding of gameplay strategy and mechanics, and therefore rarely explain the “how” and the “why” for pivotal moves. He notes, “There are people who watch this with the sole intent of wanting to play the game better; if you don’t engage that, you’re doing them a disservice.”
Finally, Ramsey also commented on his perceived trend that eSports companies are trying to brand and structure themselves more closely with traditional sports. He notes that if this is the direction they want to take, eSports casters need to put a stronger focus on marketing the players and their stories.
All of these challenges that he describes are things that his course aims to teach. In essence, he trains his students to be better broadcasters by teaching them the fundamentals of good broadcasting: how to interview, how to write, how to speak, among many other skills. As most eSports broadcasters today have backgrounds that are more related to the gaming industry rather than broadcasting, Ramsey believes that his students will stand out from the crowd due to the extra layer of polish they’ll have after graduating from his program.
So if you’re looking to get a good foothold in eSports broadcasting, consider checking out Gus Ramsey’s sportscasting program at Full Sail. It might just give you the edge you need to get the attention of a major eSports company looking for new talent.