More than 50 game development programs have been added to U.S. colleges' curricula in the past year, bringing to 254 the number of universities offering degrees in video game design, programming and art, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
The ESA's study said 54 were added since 2008, a 27 percent rise in the number of video game-related degree programs in the U.S. Among states, California quite expectedly offers the most video game-related degrees, at 46 institutions, with the University of California-Irvine recently establishing a center for games and virtual worlds research. New York, Texas and Florida are the other leading states, in that order.
The utility of these programs extends beyond game creation; the ESA also said a poll found that 70 percent of "major employers" use some form of interactive software, including games, in employee training. Of those, three-fourths expect to expand their usage of such methods in the next three to five years.
Like any popular and growing field, graduates can certainly expect to find a competitive jobs environment. But the growth and the mainstreaming of programs built specifically for game design show the industry's deepening acceptance by and impact to big business in America.