In talking to undergraduate students in Computer Science, I find that a fair share of them joined this particular major because of their interest in game development. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be sinking into the mindset of the educators in many major universities. For them, its either simply below their radar, or just not as interesting as what they are interested in. Heck, they even ignore their own historical origins: one of the very first applications created for the Unix system, in the hands of its original creators, was a game.
On one hand I hear professors in this field describing the ongoing drop in enrollment in this field since the dot-com bust. They want to find ways of making their program interesting again and appeal to the students. Back back to my point, they are simply ignoring the driving force behind why these students want to become developers in the first place.
Take in comparison, the movie and theater industry which has long been established over the centuries and is available in most universities with an arts programs. The schools are not keeping up with the fact that traditional entertainment-going audiences are continuing to drop across the board. On the other hand, the software game industry is continuing to grow, in some cases bigger than some of the largest movie or music hits. Even traditional media stars are starting to recognize this, as they transition to roles in animation and game titles. On another front, the number of game development books on the shelves continue to be some of the most popular published titles around. All this means a good future for jobs in this industry, and because of its very technical nature, a good market for education.
The good news is that newer schools and smaller colleges are appreciating this. Jay Clark
who has just started his blog on our site writes to this fact; and here in the Southwest US, I see commercials for game design and development from independent technical and design colleges as well.
The basic industry is evolving. Even after three or four decades, it is still young. E3 and other major conferences have shown it to be a huge market with lots of players, but most academia, which are far behind do not see it as a priority. What it needs first is a generational change, but more importantly, it needs the actual properly skilled educators to come back from industry to teach the subject. For industry members:
you can't complain that there aren't a general pool of skilled developers in proper techniques, if there aren't enough people to teach the next generation the subject. Send your best teachers and managers back to train the future.For educators:
this is where one part of the industry is heading which involves deep programming experience in many different areas including software engineering, programmed/artificial intelligence, network & distributed programming, graphics programming, and more. You need students. Students want to learn what is involved to get into this industr. Figure it out!