My son is completing high school and wishes to pursue game designing overseas. Which universities do you suggest?

The video game industry can best be described as a quiet giant. Unknown to most, it is significantly larger than the movie industry, with revenues nearly three times more in the US alone. Poised for continued growth, it is a lucrative industry to pursue your career. Game designing is a highly creative and technical field that is at the core of what the industry does.

Far gone are the days of Pac-man and limited graphics. Today’s video games are massive projects with photo-realistic visuals, complex narratives, movie stars providing voices and global releases akin to a movie launch. Along with the dramatic growth of the industry has been the growth of requirements for professionals. Game designing can take up a variety of sub-fields, from 3D modeling to artistry to actually creating the gameplay experience. As you study, you will start to hone in on your specific speciality.

The hotbed of game development studios is the USA, and most schools there offer an excellent professional education which prepares students for the workplace. Institutions such as the University of South California, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology, and University of Utah are all considered amongst the very best in this field. These have been the centres for excellence in gaming design and technology, churning out leaders of the industry year after year.

Other countries that have a strong gaming industry are England, Canada, Japan and Germany. In the UK, there are several universities offering this course. Staffordshire University in Stoke-on-Trent covers numerous disciplines in this course, including design and programming; thereby empowering students with multiple skills to help them succeed in gaming studios. Here students have access to a variety of the largest studios such as Epic Games and Electronic Arts.

Manchester Metropolitan University is another campus with exposure to mobile and social gaming. London remains the city with the most gaming studios in the UK. Canada also has world renowned institutions such as the Visual College 
of Art and Design of Vancouver offers degrees in 3D modeling and game development and design. The Toronto Film School also offers degrees in Animation, Graphic Design and Game Design. Apart from the more conventional four year courses, there are specific specialty colleges offering flexible classes that you can take while working.

However, the significant benefits of being near the hotbed of gaming studios always tilt the scales for a student’s career prospects. From networking opportunities to internships and access to industry leaders, the US is the best option for this industry. EA, the gaming giant, is known to hire a sizeable number of students from US campuses every year.

Balance both your creative and technical skills to succeed in this field, and be up to date with developments in the industry. Understand the direction it is going, and be knowledgeable about latest releases. There has never been a better time to be able to play video games and say it’s to learn.

Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor