Friday, January 8, 2010

The Game Industry is Dangerously Misunderstood

I was linked to a recent fluff piece by NPR in which they catalog the entire state of the video game industry by (a) profiling one of the largest, most successful developers, (b) taking some misleading stats from a press kit at the ESA, and (c) getting a 10 word sound bite from a professor at CMU. Riiiight.

It presents the erroneous notion that spending time on a video game degree from a diploma mill will almost certainly get you into the industry -- much less whether it's a good idea to get into an industry that's rapidly consolidating / kinda imploding on itself right now.

This is just some truly irresponsible reporting. Some well-meaning parent is going to show this to their teenager. That teenager is going to spend time getting a specialized degree that barely even matters in the industry it claims to cater to. (i.e. it's the portfolio and experience that matters) Then, when they either can't find a job (likely) or want to change careers (even more likely), what's that degree going to get them?

To anyone who's wondering what to do, here's some advice that's been repeated by much wiser industry veterans: you're better off studying something general.

Want to design games? English, history, philosophy, architecture, math. Want to program games? Computer science. Want to be a games artist? Art practice, sculpting, figure drawing, photography.

... And shame on NPR. (Oh well, at least This American Life is still good, huh? And you can't beat All Things Considered or Car Talk.)