The world is filled with people who love to play video games. There are about two billion gamers worldwide. Revenue for the gaming industry hit almost $120 billion in 2018, according to a report on the Business Insider website.
Because of this, video game design has become a popular major at many art and design colleges. But do those who aspire to work in the industry have to get a degree in game design or are there other majors that will prepare students to work in this industry? The short answer is ‘yes,’ there are several degrees that prepare students to work in this industry. Here’s a look at them.
Video Game Development
Many schools offer majors in game development or something similar. How these majors break down differs from school to school. That said, students can count on taking coursework such as:
- Technology in the entertainment industry
- Software engineering
- Computer graphics
- Artificial Intelligence
- Life drawing, painting
- Character development
- Animation for games
- Transmedia entertainment
- Visual design for games
Additionally, the Princeton Review gives future students some advice about picking a video game design school. First, it suggests that students find schools that have the right technology. This is a tech-heavy industry. Future game professionals should know how to use technology related to their industry.
Second, students in these majors should be producing a lot of games or game art throughout their college careers. By doing this, they learn to not only create games but also how to debug them, develop them with an audience in mind and stick to tight production schedules.
Other Creative Alternatives
It’s important to recognize that video games incorporate just about every art form there is from visual art to music to scriptwriting. Art colleges, like the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), require their game designers to take classes in subjects, like film, theater, dance and other related arts disciplines. The point is that would-be video game professionals can work in the video game industry even if they don’t study computer science.
A look at job search sites reveals a host of jobs in the industry. Many of these jobs ask for skills, like scriptwriting, storyboarding, character design, translation, localization or music composition, according to The Balance Careers website.
Some of them don’t even require the job holder to know how to use the software that’s typically associated with creating video games, like Maya, or to know computer languages.
In this respect, the video game industry is open to several different kinds of employees. Instead, these employees may have majored in subjects like:
- Foreign languages, like German, French or Spanish
- Screen or theater scriptwriting
- Music composition or music engineering
- Traditional visual arts, like sculpture, illustration, painting, etc.
- Film and television
Additionally, many recruits don’t start in game development. They may begin as game testers or in quality assurance.
That being the case, they have the time to check out the industry to determine where they would fit. Maybe they will fit in with game development. However, they may find after working in the industry for a while that they prefer to work in the script department or as storyboard artists.
Business, Marketing and Producing
The video game industry is big business, and many people must work on the business side of the business to keep video game studios running. Those who are more interested in sales, marketing and advertising can still find a place for themselves in the video game industry. Some colleges, like Full Sail University, even offer business degrees that are specific to the entertainment industry.
Their coursework teaches them how to manage events, to develop financing proposals and to market their products. They also have an opportunity to develop a portfolio. This tool allows them to develop plans for marketing games, film or other entertainment events.
Video game producers fall into this category, though some may have attended a degree program that prepared them to work in other aspects of the industry, including in-game design or development. They may have also been through a computer science degree or at least taken coursework in that.
The video game industry shows no signs of slowing down. Now, more than ever, would-be video game professionals have several career options if they want to work in the industry. While many of them will formally study game development or computer science, many others will take a different route. They might work in storyboarding, video game scriptwriting, translation and localization or conceptual art. Still, others may go into the business side of things, becoming marketing professionals, video game producers or sales professionals.
Therefore, it’s important to realize that many college majors can prepare a person to work in this field. This is good news. It means that industry hopefuls can major in subjects they love and still find positions within the industry.