Rocket League is a phenomenon. The soccer game you play with cars debuted last year, and it now has multiple esports leagues and legions of dedicated fans. But the best evidence that it is something special is that educators are using it to teach kids.
This summer, summer-camp program iD Tech will use Rocket League to introduce children age 10 through age 12 to science, technology, engineering, and math, which are commonly referred to as the STEM subjects. Instructors will hold Rocket League up as an example before tasking campers with designing their own games and learning how to program. In an economy that is always looking for engineers, this kind of early training could put a new generation of kids on a path to a lucrative career. Some may even end up in the $99.3 billion gaming industry, which will likely generate well over $100 billion by the time 2016’s summer campers are old enough to join the workforce.
Rocket League is the latest game to join iD Tech’s roster of gaming-themed classes. The company already incorporates popular games like Valve’s Dota 2 multiplayer online arena battler and the shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. We’ve also previously covered iD Tech’s big move to use Minecraft, which is one of the most popular games in the world.
“Our task force team unanimously chose Rocket League because it’s challenging and entertaining with that fun, esports feel,” iD Tech chief executive Pete Ingram-Cauchi said in a statement. “Having an E-rated game is also a big selling point because it’s age appropriate and fun for all kids.”
For developer Psyonix, this is the continuation of a wild year where it went from relative obscurity to the team responsible for one of the 10 best games of 2015.
“We were immediately excited by the prospect of being included in the popular iD Tech programs,” Psyonix vice president Jeremy Dunham said in a statement. “We believe in their vision, and we love their programs, but we also know that Rocket League’s accessibility will give sports fans and non-sports fans alike the chance to compete in a game that’s unique and different than anything else.”
This summer, iD Tech expects to teach 50,000 students from ages six through 18 about STEM. And as they get a new perspective on how their favorite games work, many could decide to move into positions to work on the technology that will determine the course of the rest of this century.