Video game design schools prepare tech-minded people to create the next generation of immersive and action-packed console games, PC software and mobile apps. The demand for quality video games is as high as it's been in decades -- gaming is a regular part of life in an estimated 67 percent of U.S. households, and the average American gamer is 37 years old. In other words, it's not just kids playing video games, but also the generation that grew up with joysticks and gamepads. In addition, the need for designers is growing as more games are developed for mobile platforms. There are plenty of roles to fill in this $10.5 billion industry, with some of the top roles being programmers, art designers, writers and game testers. Jobs in the video game industry also pay well. Are you interested in learning more about video game design schools? Read on to see some of the top myths and facts about video game design.
Designing a video game isn't easy. Developers tend to work around the clock on all facets of their games, especially at smaller studios where staffing levels are limited. While game developers are encouraged to play games to keep up with the latest trends, it's not something many of them do for fun. Most of their time playing games is actually time spent playtesting, which isn't the same. Also, with the sheer amount of time game designers spend making games, the last thing many want to do is go home to play more games.
Many online college programs offer video game design degrees. Three of the best are Liberty University, Full Sail Online and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. However, you can't beat the kind of education you get from being in a classroom with peers and instructors, especially in such a complex field. Anyone who is considering an online program should make sure credits are transferable to traditional colleges before enrolling.
Video game design is a highly collaborative job. Even people who are primarily graphic artists often have input into the creative process. Many people end up playing roles in various aspects of a game's creation from its plot points to how characters look and behave. Every element of each game is the product of intense brainstorming, implementation, testing and revision. None of that would be possible if people just stared into their screens all day.
Not only is there a huge demand for video game designers, but that demand is expected to increase up to 30 percent over the next four years, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, many graduates of video game design school end up starting their own gaming studios, and many of these startup studios are profitable. The rise of mobile gaming has created a huge space for small studios to score big earnings.
Video game design experts actually get far more than the median pay, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the median salary in the United States was just $51,939 in 2014, the median pay in the video game industry surpassed $72,000 -- and the high demand for qualified designers is going to keep those salaries high. Keep in mind that the higher-end salaries are for multimedia artists and game animators.
This myth couldn't be more wrong. In fact, new data shows the average gamer in the United States is 37 years old. While that may seem a little old for a gamer, consider that 30-somethings were the first generation to literally grow up with video games. They got hooked early and still play today.
In rare cases, people who are self-taught have successfully created small, low-budget games. However, people who are serious about careers in video game design generally need access to the tools, software and instruction that can only be learn through accredited degree programs. Video game design is constantly evolving, and the craft is built upon multiple layers of code, storytelling and technology that must work in harmony in order to be both functional and successful. Anything beyond a bare-bones game requires a real education.
Most job openings in video game design can be had with a bachelor's degree in either animation, game development or computer science. There's no real need to spend additional years in college working toward an advanced degree, which can end up being incredibly expensive.