news\ Mar 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

More colleges offering video game design as academic study


Prospective college students interested in learning video game design might not have to search quite as hard. The number of colleges offering degrees in the field have nearly doubled last year, according to an article published on USA Today.

The University of Southern California in Los Angeles still holds the number one spot, though, for best colleges that include game design in their programs. Its graduates have landed jobs with publishers like Activision and Electronic Arts, producing hit games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Other top schools include MIT, University of Utah, and DigiPen Institute of Technology for undergraduate studies and the Rochester Institute of Technology, MIT, and University of Central Florida for graduate studies.

"There certainly is an increase in visibility in game design, and schools are … putting out students that are employable," says David Soto, director of content development at The Princeton Review.

Social and mobile games, motion capture and 3D, and gesture-based control like that of Microsoft Kinect are new topics being discussed at universities like USC. "Students need to be able to walk into industry five years from now, armed with the type of skills that today are just emerging," Tracy Fullerton, chair of the Interactive Media Division at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, said.

Employment in the video game industry has grown at an annual rate of 8.6% from 2005 to 2009, according to the Entertainment Software Association. The average starting salary is between $51-62,000. Maybe now more parents will let their kids play video games.

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Stephanie Carmichael Twitter: @wita
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