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ESA: Video Game Popularity Sees Higher Demand For Game Degree Programs
ESA: Video Game Popularity Sees Higher Demand For Game Degree Programs
August 22, 2011 | By Mike Rose

August 22, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



According to a new study by the U.S.-based trade group Entertainment Software Association, as the popularity of video games has increased, there is a much higher demand for game degree programs in colleges and universities.

During the 2011-12 academic year, there will be 343 different programs available in game design, development and programming across all American colleges, universities, art and trade schools.

This total includes 301 undergraduate programs, and 42 graduate programs, spread across 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. California leads the pack, with 54 institutions offering game-related programs. Texas follows, with 24 total institutions.

The ESA noted that the increase in demand comes as more than 120,000 people are now employed by games companies in the U.S., and 72 percent of American households now play video games.

Rich Taylor, senior VP at the ESA, explained, "It is encouraging to see so many institutions of higher learning preparing students for careers in our creative and high-tech industry."

"Video games are everywhere - nearly three quarters of American households play games, and education, healthcare and business professionals are using them to help us lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. With an increasing number of schools now offering graduate programs in game design and development, students have even greater access to the training they need to meet this growing demand."

Earlier this year, the ESA clashed with an Iowa State University study, issuing a warning over the "flawed" study that alleged a link between video games and mental health problems in children.


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Comments


Megan Fox
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I'd be curious to know if they're seeing increased demand from employers, or only from students.



Acting on the one is good for the industry, and meets a staffing demand with (hopefully) skilled applicants, but the other... not so good. It would just be setting a bunch of students up for failure and cashing in on their hopes and dreams.

Christopher Parthemos
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I can only speak for the Institution I attend, of course, but here at the Guildhall we react to Industry demand. Dr. Raad, our head of school, meets regularly with people from the industry to talk about what they're looking for in student hires, and we adjust our curriculum accordingly. As an example, we've recently added a production track (on top of art, coding, and level design) due to increased industry demand for specially trained producers.



It's possible that some of the other schools out there are just taking advantage of their students. I also know from the application process that many of the schools which *claim* to have Game Design programs really only offer a few classes within an older Multi-Media Degree, or as an adjunct to film-forward animation courses. But at the Guildhall, as I suspect it is at Full Sail, and Digipen, and other top-tier programs, the faculty work closely with the industry.

Dylan Tan
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I do agreed with what Megan is saying. I hope it wont be like what the IT Studies turn out to be, produce a worthless piece of paper that eventually student realize that what they studied and what they actually worked on is very much different. Games is multi discipline and I don't think a degree in Gaming would helped much in real development term. You can't have a generic all purpose certification in Games. Its will be worthless. I could be wrong but the way I see, it seem like it is heading that way.

Christopher Parthemos
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I think that's true at many programs. Many programs will teach you a little bit about 3Ds Max, a little bit about C#, etc. A good school, which I think the top tier programs represent, will also teach you about theory, about the unique production cycle involved in making a game, about ethics, and most importantly encourage an interest in disciplines other than gaming.

Ramon Carroll
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Yeah, I'm inclined to ask the same question that Megan's asking. How useful is such a study if the actual demand (company side) for more employees is not really increasing that much, or perhaps even diminishing?

SHAWN FUNCHES
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Speaking solely from experiences it's a 50/50 shot. You may go to one of the top or "preferred" schools that offer gaming degrees, but still not land employment with a game company for 3 or more years. As it was said at a GDC event I attended a few years back having a game degree does not automatically propel you to front of the highering pile, even with a title under your belt. I was also told by industry persons that having a traditional degree in computer science and animation, or AI programming and being familiar with game mod tools is just as good as a degree tailored towards a game concentration, and would leave one's self open to more opportunities for employment incase they found it difficult to get into game industry. So hopefully this isn't taken the wrong way, as I said this comment is from my personal experiences.



Thanks


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