Live-streamed from Hong Kong, the 3rd APRU MetaGame Conference concluded on 27 August, 2022 to a resounding success, during which academics and industry experts discussed policies, challenges and opportunities on the development of esports in higher education. In partnership with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and hosted by Cyberport, APRU MetaGame Conference 2022 brought together leading scholars and industry experts from North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and were joined by over 2,000 participants from over 230 countries and regions.
This year’s Conference focused on three themes: “Edutainment: Education, Gamification, and the Metaverse”, “Elite Collegiate Esports”, and the “Gamification of Social Well-being”. It kicked off with a keynote speech by Professor Yang Wang, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement at HKUST and APRU Senior International Leader, who shared insights on the power of edutainment and the latest trends in the integration of esports and the metaverse into education.
Panel discussions between academics and industry experts were also held, during which they exchanged ideas on the opportunities and challenges that esports, web3, blockchain, artificial intelligence and other new technologies will bring to the higher education sector. Participating scholars also urged universities to take the lead in adopting new thinking, teaching and learning methodologies.
Professor Yang Wang said, “With the advent of the metaverse and blockchain technologies, the higher education landscape as we know it will be rewritten completely. This will bring new opportunities and challenges for scholars, students, creators and universities, unlocking the next level of interaction and engagement in universities.”
Professor Pan Hui, Director of the Center for Metaverse and Computational Creativity (MC2) at HKUST, and Chair Professor of Computational Media and Arts at HKUST (Guangzhou) said during a panel discussion, “While the research community is still exploring the full potential of edutainment, data shows that new technological tools such as mobile devices, wearables, and extended-reality classrooms can vastly enhance the learning experience of students through gamification, as they blend physical and virtual objects to create a world rich in ‘surreality’, creating playful educational experiences.”
As a network of 60 leading research universities from the Pacific Rim, APRU is committed to developing esports and other new technologies into educational medium for students and researchers, as well as a sustainable and safely governed industry that will improve career trajectories for all across borders.
The APRU MetaGame Conference 2022 therefore provided the perfect platform for global thought leaders to discuss the development of future policies and application of esports in education.
Kathy Chiang, Vice President, Board of Directors, Voice of Intercollegiate Esports, said in a panel discussion, “People are starting to see the games and esports industry as a very significant portion of what new tech – and its investment – is going into. It is such a vast industry that a variety of new jobs for graduates will be created, such as game programmers, sound artists, designers. What’s even more interesting is that the growth of this industry also promotes physical and mental health, and increases collegiate scholarship pathways.”
In addition to the panel discussions, students actively engaged in the Conference at the APRU Rampage Invitational esports tournament featuring top teams of the Asia Pacific on PLANET9, the preferred esports platform, and the Digital Art Design Competition sponsored by Moon Lab. Six finalist teams from North America, Asia and Latin America faced off virtually, and presented their original game ideas on a sustainable and inclusive world, each also reflecting their respective culture.
Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer of Cyberport, says, “Talents are the pillars of every industry development. Cyberport is delighted to work with APRU for the third time to launch the APRU Esports Fellowship Program, which enables Pacific Rim student leaders who are passionate about esports, to participate in learning, internship, and entrepreneurial opportunities to prepare them for becoming future leaders, and ultimately contributing to the thriving and evolving esports ecosystem worldwide.”
"The APRU tournament was a great way to start the semester and a really fun event with the team,” said Tate Tamaye, 2nd year student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa who participated in the tournament who participated in the tournament. "The tourney allowed us to play against teams that I haven't played against before, which made it very interesting. I hope that in the future, they will be able to invite more teams, and have a larger tournament."