The number of game design degree programs has risen 20 percent year over year, says the Entertainment Software Association, which says that 300 American colleges, universities, art and trade shows will offer them in the upcoming year.
This compares to 220 schools and 250 programs in the 2008-2009 academic year, according to the ESA's new research. "The steady increase in higher education programs is an important indicator about the expanding role computer and video games play in today’s world," says Rich Taylor, ESA senior VP for communications and industry affairs.
Some of the options listed in the ESA's report include Dartmouth College's game design and digital studies program, Arizona State University's gaming certificate program at its Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, and the Digital Animation and Interactive Media program at Ohio State's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design.
Design and development programs are available in 42 states, although most of them are located in California -- according to the ESA, the Golden State holds 40 academic institutions that offer game design degrees. With 26, New York is second, followed by Texas at 21.
The ESA says the increase in programs is concurrent with an increase in gaming around the U.S.; the trade body says 67 percent of U.S. households now play computer and video games. Alongside this, games are a growing presence business, healthcare and education; 70 percent of "major employers" use interactive software and games for training, and 75 percent of non-profits that use games for employee education plan to continue doing so, says the research.