In the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the West Midlands, there is a thriving community of gamers and esports enthusiasts. The region’s esports community has embraced and excelled in the digital arena, becoming a hub for the UK’s talent.
The West Midlands, home to a diverse population and a burgeoning gaming community, has emerged as a hub for esports excellence. The region boasts a cluster of renowned gaming companies, including Codemasters, Ubisoft, and Playground Games, fostering a talent pool of skilled developers and designers who contribute to the ever-evolving world of esports.
Esports in West Midlands
Esports or electronic sports encapsulate the competitive realm of video gaming. Like any other sport, skilled players engage in organised matches, captivating audiences with their strategic prowess and lightning-fast reflexes.
Esports tournaments, often held in grand arenas and broadcast live to millions of viewers, have become global spectacles. For example, the final match of the League of Legends World Championship on November 13 was watched by more than 6.4million fans worldwide, making it the most-viewed esports event ever.
West Midlands has had a strong track record in embracing esports. In 2022, Birmingham hosted the first-ever esports Commonwealth Tournament at the Commonwealth Games. Furthermore, Coventry University announced a strategic partnership with the Asian Electronic Sports Federation in 2020 to invest in esports education and research.
In 2022 alone, West Midlands contributed about a quarter of the UK’s £7.16billion video games market. In the same year, the West Midlands Growth Company signed a ten-year partnership with the Global Esports Federation to establish the region as a hub for esports innovation and development. The partnership will provide access to expertise, resources, and funding to support the growth of the esports ecosystem in the region.
How esports thrives
Dr Richard Oddy from Birmingham City University identifies two main reasons the esports community thrives in the West Midlands. First, the region has a dynamic young demographic, with approximately 40 per cent of Birmingham’s population skewing towards the youngest in Europe. The youthful demographic presents an opportunity to foster community cohesion and social interactions.
Second, the West Midlands’ educational infrastructure provides the necessary resources to cultivate the next generation of esports leaders. Birmingham City Business School has proactively developed a BA (Hons) Esports Management degree program to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the flourishing industry.
Moreover, several colleges offer Level 3 qualifications tailored to prepare individuals for entry into the esports realm. By nurturing a robust educational infrastructure, the West Midlands aims to retain and attract top-tier esports talent, ensuring the region’s continued growth as a hub for innovation and excellence.
Meta gaming in esports
While Fnatic, Endpoint, and Excel Esports have made a name for themselves internationally, the UK esports scene is still relatively minor compared to the US and China. However, a few UK teams consistently compete in major tournaments and have achieved significant success. As aspiring esports players delve into the world of competitive gaming, understanding what is meta gaming becomes essential to navigate the complexities of modern esports. In the context of esports, meta gaming involves devising and implementing strategies that exploit the current game dynamics. It demands strategic thinking, analytical prowess, and adaptability from top players.
Casual players also adopt meta gaming techniques to improve their performance and achieve their in-game goals. Online forums, discussion groups, and social media platforms have become hubs for meta gaming knowledge, with gamers sharing tips, strategies, and insights.