Video Game Design

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 58 percent of people play video games daily. In 2012 alone, $20.77 billion was spent on software, hardware and video game accessories.
With that much gaming going on, consumers expect new and exciting games to be available to feed their need for entertainment.
Video game designers are the people who take a concept for a game and bring it to life. Designers must be skilled in computer programming and other technical skills. There are a number of programs available to teach this kind of specialized training.
Education Requirements

Those who wish to work in the video game industry have several options on how to receive the necessary training.
An associate of video game design takes up to two years to complete. Courses offered should include computer programming/software development, animation, creative concepts, interactive media usage, animation, character development and storytelling. This degree level can be completed both online and in traditional classroom settings.
A four-year bachelor in video game design also is available. All of the same basic skills taught at an associate-degree level are included in a four-year program, with extra emphasis placed on the programming and technology aspects. Students will learn how to develop games for more than just a gaming system with this degree program. They also will learn how to use software and other technology to develop games that can be played on cell phones and other personal electronic devices.
Graduate-level degrees in video game design also are available both online and in traditional settings. This level of education focuses on the business management and finance aspects of the video game industry.
There is no official accrediting agency for video game design schools. However, some of the top-rated programs in the United States and Canada, as determined by the Princeton Review, include: the University of Utah, the University of Southern California, DigiPen Institute of Technology, the Rochester Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Drexel University, Shawnee State University, the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Art Institute of Vancouver, Michigan State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Becker College, New England Institute of Technology and North Carolina State University.

Future Outlook

Demand for qualified video game designers is expected to grow by 8 percent between now and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Due to the fact that consumers expect more realistic images and special effects in their video games, the areas of demand within the industry will be animation and visual special effects.
The median annual salary for video game designers is $58,510.

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