Our Q & A with five different Top Schools in Game Design yielded some excellent advice and things to think about for gamers who are thinking about a major in game design, or might be curious about the industry.

Tell us more about the latest in trends in game design, and a little bit more about the industry.

“The industry is abuzz with excitement for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality -all areas we have worked in since our program was founded in 2005. First and foremost, we see future trends focused on inclusivity and diversity-everyone plays games and uses interactive media, so everyone should be empowered to create in this space with inclusive design. […] But trends shift and are hard to predict. What's not hard to predict is the foundational knowledge in IMGD, and we offer both to prepare students to apply skills across established and emerging industries.” -   Worcester Polytechnic Institute IMGD Program


“The industry is mature and is structured somewhat like the film industry, with large developers and publishers that will be risk-averse, leaning on proven Intellectual Property (IP) while looking for additional market streams they can use to extend their IP - that includes new niche formats and platforms like VR, AR, and immersive displays like domes. Small to medium studios, also risk-averse in their own way, are more agile and able to experiment with new market niches rather than be one-of-many in established and saturated markets. Both large and small studios will need experienced practitioners to jump-start their experiments in these new formats, media, and interactions .” -   Drexel University

Why is it a great time to major in game design, especially for gamers?

“The game design and development market is growing fast in the United States. Game students are sought after not only by game development companies, but also by more conventional market sectors such as healthcare, defense, national security, and K-12 education as they seek to create new ways to teach, learn, research, and implement innovative ideas. A critical component of the EAE program is honing a student's ability to work with people from other disciplines. This creates graduates that can enter the workforce with valuable communication skills, technical proficiency, and they are ready to function immediately on a team.” -   The University of Utah 

“Game Design is a fusion of many 21  st  century skills. These range from software engineering and math to storytelling; system design and business to art . Working with our distinguished industry advisory board, which comprises official representation from Sony and Double Fine Games as well as the Director of Games at Google, we’ve created a Game Design and Development program that allows students to not only focus on game design but game art, engineering, or storytelling as well. As a game designer, you will learn to collaborate with others in a production environment, become a problem solver, and spark joy in others as they play your game.” -  Cogswell Polytechnic College

“Interactive media and games permeate our society, from entertainment to medical applications. Our students learn all of the components needed to succeed with the skills they acquire here (design, coding, art, writing, and sound, as well as leadership and entrepreneurship). Growth in industry allows students to follow their passions while they have multiple marketplace opportunities. Though many of our undergraduate and graduate students go into game development, they have found opportunities to apply their knowledge to medical augmented reality via Hololens development at UMass Medical Center, to enter the robotics industry, to do Android development for Google, to become animators, and so much more. We often say that games drive technical innovation, but that innovation permeates our everyday lives. Our project-based curriculum helps prepare our students with a wide variety of broadly applicable skills, preparing them for careers both inside and outside the games industry.” -   Worcester Polytechnic Institute

See the Top 50 Schools in Game Design.

What advice would you give gamers and others interested in game design majors?

“When a semester ends, you don't have to stop working on the games you created for assignments. Putting more time into a class project can transform it from good game to an amazing game. An example of this is the Dark is the Night board game. It was created by a trio of Bradley University sophomores in their Game Design 1 class. After the semester ended, they continued developing it on their own time. As a result of the extra work, the game was picked up and published by APE Games, and the Bradley students now have their first professional credit (as well as royalty checks).” -   Bradley University

“It's important to gain practical experience by making a lot of games in diverse teams. Almost every Drexel game course is a team project. Technical skills are required, but learning to play well with others is a major step to become a sought-after teammate . Our students get a solid digital media foundation, enhanced by advanced courses. Additional opportunities and student groups, like EGS, SIGGRAPH, Drexel Game Developer's Group, DUVR, IGDA, and more, give students multiple outlets for creativity, networking, and career development beyond the classroom. In addition to tech skills and teamwork, studying design theory is the third leg of the tripod - understanding that it's not enough to bombard the player with sounds and polys, but that you need to give the player the tools to be clever and empowered in a compelling experience that achieves the design goals.” -   Drexel University 

Consider the profile of the faculty when choosing a game design program, including their previous or current professional experience . For example, at SMU Guildhall’s graduate program for game designers, “Student games are produced by our faculty of professional developers, providing students with the ability to be mentored by thirty-year veterans of the industry. These relationships yield professional quality games and teams that are hired by studios all over the world. The quantity of quality of our games is a top reason that aspiring game developers apply to SMU Guildhall and employers hire our students.”  - SMU Guildhall, Graduate Program in Video Game Design

Read our profile on the Game Design major.