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How to become a key player in the Gaming industry

“Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock-n-roll.” Shigeru Miyamoto

It’s been a monumental year in the world of Game development. From Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to Grand Theft Auto V, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, and countless other games that have captivated gamepad-bearing buffs all over the globe.

Long gone are the dingy days of enthusiasts coding from the deep depths of their rooms. Today, Gaming represents a thriving business, with highly-skilled teams at least 200-strong enlivening the industry with big vision – and even BIGGER budgets.

Here we see the Computer Game in its prime. Digital distribution has allowed content to reach a much larger audience than we’ve ever seen before, with games now being channelled directly to our consoles, phones, tablets and PCs. The technology revolution has revitalised the field, establishing independent streams of revenue while expanding key existing markets to brand-new innovators and consumers.

Alex Kotliarskyi

It’s a business that’s both lucrative and rich with opportunity. In the US alone, the Video Game industry is worth a staggering $18.4 billion, a figure that’s expected to exceed 20 billion by the time we hit 2020. With profits that dwarf those coming out of Hollywood and also dominate music business numbers, Gaming attracts a consistent global pool of talent other sectors just can’t match.

But in a fast-evolving pool of qualified graduates, how do you become a key player in the global gaming industry?

“I would advise prospective students who are hoping to become key players in the gaming industry to study maths and physics or to draw” says Steven Longden, Director of Admissions for DigiPen Institute of Technology – a known leader in Game Development education.

“The industry needs people who can write software using code – code is all about maths and physics,” he adds. “Students with great maths and physics preparation learn to program much more rapidly than students who have programming experience but poor skills in maths and physics. For animation artists, the advice is for them to draw, draw, and then draw some more!”

The industry is a key employer for aspiring creatives. Worldwide, forward-thinking educators have recognised the industry’s potential, implementing elite, affordable programs for would-be gaming professionals. These are as diverse as the opportunities in the industry itself, and span the scope of disciplines from coding and level design, to concept art and marketing.

Aside from all this, competitive salaries and unparalleled employment prospects are a constant draw, with many craving the excitement derived from the world’s most fruitful and dynamic entertainment sector. Fast-changing and increasingly powerful technologies are inspiring new possibilities in Gaming at an astonishing rate – so if you’ve been thinking of investing in a Gaming education, there’s no better time than now to delve in and get involved.

DIGIPEN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY EUROPE BILBAO – SPAIN

As the world’s very first institution to specialise in Video Game education, DigiPen is a known pioneer with a history that spans 30-years – almost as old as the industry itself.

The DigiPen degree in Computer Science instils the fundamentals of Real-Time Interactive Simulation, producing informed global graduates who develop each complex game component entirely from scratch. The degree in Animation, on the other hand, is much more focused of the art of drawing itself, granting students the power to create their own characters through the mastery of perspective, proportion, colour, texture and composition.

Regardless of their chosen course of study, DigiPen students graduate readily-instilled with the technique and experience this booming global industry demands. “DigiPen graduates have worked on such game titles as Call of Duty, Halo, Destiny, The last of us, FIFA, League of Legends and quite literally hundreds more AAA titles,” Longden explains.

“One of our students started on a project for recently graduated students at a big AAA company and within a year had been transferred to the company’s largest flagship studio. Our alumni are working in many different areas from game to aeronautics, to automotive, film to medicine,” he adds. “In all cases they are full staff and not working as interns.”

SCHOOL OF INTERACTIVE GAMES AND MEDIA, ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY – USA

The School of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester is both nationally- and globally-renowned for its innovative approach to media-centric computing. Expertly combining creative design and interactive experience with the development of content, technologies, and systems that support the burgeoning gaming business, this is a school that’s known to produce tomorrow’s blockbuster game-makers.

With courses in Game Design and Development, New Media Interactive Development, plus an advanced MS program that covers all things game design – this school promises an industry-focused education that puts students at the heart of this global field.

Here, programs, coursework, research, and development provide the knowledge and skills needed to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers in this arena, while simultaneously advancing the field and offering a holistic academic experience.

“Across many courses and topics, you will find talented, knowledgeable and award-winning educators,” says David I. Schwartz, Director of the school. “…The entire IGM community engages in large-scale, “mega-game” events, hackathons, parties, and competitions. With our outstanding support staff, IGM creates a unique academic experience for our students, and together, we make IGM strong, vibrant, and successful.”

INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAMES DIVISION, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (USC) – USA

USC has earned its place among the leading players in gaming education. As a noted trailblazer of the discipline, the Interactive Media and Games Division has supported growth within the global industry, frequently progressing the forward with innovative research concepts.

From the Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Media (Games and Health), to Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design, Game Studies, Game Entrepreneurialism, and everything in between – USC offers a comprehensive game portfolio that will guide you towards a meaningful profession.

As actively working leaders of media, faculty here do so much more than just instruct and inspire students on content creation. Here, students are viewed as collaborators, simultaneously motivating teachers with their technique, passion and drive.

“The Interactive Media program focuses on designing interactive experiences with an end-user approach,” explains Clarissa Joan Middleton, current student of the MFA in Interactive Media and Games.

“Our professors challenge us to consider the experience goals we desire for our target audience from the very beginning of development, through production, and post. Interactive Media is a new frontier in the world of storytelling.”

ENTERTAINMENT ARTS AND ENGINEERING MASTER GAMES STUDIO, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH – USA

This dedicated school for gaming encompasses a truly unique and creative learning experience.

Students enrolled in the Master of Entertainment Arts and Engineering degree program (MEAE) are destined for careers in interactive entertainment, spurred by a curriculum that’s specifically been built with this goal in mind.

Here, students don’t just receive a world-class education from a leading US university, but also benefit from unrivalled opportunities to develop and enhance a professional game portfolio through ‘studio simulation’ projects.

MAEAE students apply to one of four possible tracks – Game Arts, Game Engineering, Game Production, or Technical Art, participating in a series of courses focused on their unique specialty. In addition to this, they also pursue a series of classes with students from differing tracks – including game design, rapid prototyping, pre-production, and final projects.

Each track has a concentrated set of electives, while the collaborative nature of MAEAE’s provisions grants students a diverse skillset that will prove invaluable in any professional context.

DIVISION OF GAMES AND THE ARTS, ABERTAY UNIVERSITY – SCOTLAND

Offering a distinct approach to teaching that blends workplace simulation with specific development environments, Abertay’s gaming programs grant exclusive industry insights you’d be hard-pushed to find anywhere else in the world.

From Game Design and Production Management, Computer Games Technology, Computer Arts, Sound and Music for Games, and Computer Games Application and Development; Abertay’s gaming students gain a breadth and depth of understanding, whatever their chosen field.

The Division of Games and Arts is home to Abertay’s internationally recognised research and teaching in game design, computer games technology, computer arts and sound and music production,” the Faculty website notes.

“The Division’s programmes have been designed to support the development of technical and creative skills, and to provide exciting opportunities to collaborate closely with industry, lecturers and students from across different disciplines to design and develop live game prototypes and innovative creative media.”

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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