The Entertainment Software Association reported this week that more colleges and universities than ever are offering degrees and certificate programs in video game design, programming, and art.
According to the organization, 254 institutions currently offer programs focused on video game creation. Notably, the University of Pennsylvania offers a master's degree in computer graphics and game technology. The ESA said 54 programs have been added since 2008, representing a 27 percent increase in the number of video game-related degree programs across the United States.
"Today, video games are not only the fastest-growing entertainment medium, they are also increasingly used in education and business for professional training and e-learning," Rich Taylor, senior vice president for communications and industry affairs at the ESA, said in a statement. "These new college programs underscore the importance of the video games industry, which is well-poised to create additional employment and professional opportunities in the coming years."
The ESA found that California has the most video game-related degrees, with 46 institutions offering programs. New York, Texas, and Florida follow California, with institutions offering 21, 20, and 19 programs, respectively.
The increase in the number of video game-related degree programs might have something to do with the industry's growth over the past decade. According to the ESA's 2009 Essential Facts about Computer and Video Games booklet, "68 percent of American households now play video games, and 42 percent of American homes have a video game console."
The organization also cited a poll conducted for it by KRC Research, claiming that "70 percent of major employers utilize interactive software, including games, to train employees. And 75 percent of these businesses plan to expand their usage within the next three to five years."
So it seems that it might be a good time for students to entertain a video game degree. And if the ESA's contention that more schools are planning to add gaming programs is true, students might soon have many more options to choose from when they pursue a career in the industry.
If you could start from scratch, would you pursue a career in the game industry, joining one of these programs? Let us know in the comments below.