The Industry of Gaming
A broad and dynamic industry in the technology sector, the video game industry has grown exponentially since it first rose to prominence in the 1980s. Beyond simply benefiting from the rapid pace of technological innovation, the gaming industry drives much of this innovation. Gaming can be broken down into several multifaceted sub-industries, including game development, game publishing, and esports competition.
Why Should You Get a Degree in Gaming?
Although gaming-specific degree programs are relatively new to the world of postsecondary education, they have reached similar student enrollment levels as online software engineering and other firmly established computer-driven degree programs. From coding and programming to 3D modeling and animation, a degree in gaming lets employers know that you have the skills needed to achieve in this challenging industry. Degrees with a gaming focus can even prove helpful in securing sales, marketing, and other business-focused positions. In short, if you want to work for an industry leader like Nintendo or Microsoft, a degree in gaming can go a very long way.
See the Growth
In recent years, a steady influx of new players and a rapidly expanding product base has driven significant growth in the video game industry.
The Current Gaming Industry
Economists estimate that the gaming industry takes in billions upon billions of dollars in revenue each year. According to Statistica, the global video game market will reach nearly $385 billion in 2023. Growing at an annual rate of 7.89% percent, the market is expected to approach $522 billion by the end of 2027. This means that employment prospects for video game professionals are significantly better than those for the average of all occupations.
What Is Making the Gaming Industry Grow?
Of course, the forward march of technology has been a major contributing factor to the success of the video game industry, enabling it to offer products of higher and higher quality on an increasingly diverse array of platforms and systems. Other factors driving industry growth include more effective and efficient marketing and promotion initiatives and an ever-widening target market.
Gaming: What’s the Future Outlook?
The gaming industry trends listed above are expected to fuel steady growth in the gaming industry for years to come. Let’s take a closer look at the ways in which the pace of technological innovation is driving video games into the future.
It is virtually impossible to overestimate the power of new tech to breathe life into the video game sector. Beyond powering newer and better games and gaming platforms on an ongoing basis, technological innovation has dramatically improved the systems and infrastructure that support the gaming industry. Take internet connectivity as just one example. As high-speed internet service has become more widespread and connection download/upload speeds have become faster, video game development and sales have benefited tremendously from these advancements.
Mobile Gaming, Cloud Gaming, and Virtual/Augmented Reality
The gaming industry is undergoing a paradigm shift with the emergence of new technologies, including mobile gaming, cloud gaming, and virtual/augmented reality. These technologies are rapidly evolving and are poised to revolutionize the gaming industry in unprecedented ways, bringing about new opportunities for gamers and game developers alike.
Mobile gaming has become a dominant force in the gaming industry, owing to the widespread use of smartphones and tablets. These portable devices are increasingly coming equipped with powerful hardware and software that allow for much more complex and in-depth gaming experiences, all on the go. From casual puzzle games to immersive role-playing adventures, mobile games cater to a wide range of audiences, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
Cloud gaming leverages the power of cloud computing to allow players to access online games on demand and compete with one another over vast geographical distances. This technology helps eliminate the need for expensive gaming hardware, as all the processing power required for running the games is handled by remote servers. As a result, cloud gaming promises to democratize access to gaming, making it accessible to a wider audience and providing opportunities for new and innovative game development.
Virtual Reality (VR)
While it has been around for quite some time, VR technology remains in its relatively early stages in terms of reaching a larger audience. Over the next several years, VR promises to transform the gaming industry with fully immersive games that place users within an entirely digital world, allowing them to interact with the characters and things that they encounter there.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Although it is a close cousin of VR, AR operates according to a diametrically opposite principle. While VR brings the user into a virtual world, AR brings virtual elements into the real world that surrounds that user. Like VR, AR is still far from reaching its full potential.
What Careers Are Available?
With the right knowledge, skills, and credentials, you can pursue any number of rewarding career paths in the gaming industry. The already incredibly diverse video game industry is poised to become even more diverse in the near future. Here are just a few of the employment areas that will be open to you as a new graduate with a gaming degree.
Video game developers partner with designers and programmers to make products for the full spectrum of gaming markets and platforms. As part of their efforts to develop the very best games possible, they spearhead a range of ongoing testing, maintenance, and optimization initiatives to ensure a positive user experience.
Game designers conceive and create all systems and details within a video game. While designers aren’t directly responsible for wiring the underlying code of the games that they design, they must have a solid technical knowledge of different programming languages and game engines. Game design functions are often divided among graphic designers, sound designers, user experience designers, and other specialized positions.
Otherwise known as competitive gaming, esports has become big business. Drawing large stadium crowds and commanding international interest, video game play is beginning to rival traditional physical athletics in the world of professional sports, and gamers are taking home millions in prize money and brand endorsements. While only a select few can succeed as professional players, the esports industry has an expanding need for gaming professionals to serve a broad range of support, management, administration, sales, and marketing functions.
Mobile games are packaged in the form of digital apps that users can download onto smartphones, tablets, and other devices that connect to a mobile network. As in other sectors of the gaming industry, companies in the mobile gaming sector need developers, designers, and other professionals to create new games and bring them to market. To ensure success in that market, mobile gaming companies also require sales, marketing, and other business professionals.
Skills You’ll Need for This World
While all video game professionals should have at least basic technical competency and a deep interest in gaming, the specific skills you will need to succeed in the gaming sector will depend on your career goals. While designers must possess a great deal of creative ability and artistic mastery, business leaders need a strong command of communication, team building, and strategic decision-making to make a positive impact in the gaming world.
Job and Salary Outlook
The employment and pay prospects of video game professionals vary greatly from field to field, organization to organization, and position to position. Tabulated under the category special effects artists and animators by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, today’s game designers take home a median annual salary of $78,790 and can expect employment prospects to keep pace with the national average of 5 percent through 2031. By contrast, computer programmers can expect to make roughly $93,000 per year but face a job market currently in decline. Fortunately, an undergraduate degree in gaming can give you the foundational knowledge and versatile skills you will need to succeed in any number of video game industry positions.
Your Degree in Gaming
Since May 2023, University of the Cumberlands has offered a Bachelor of Science in Gaming that can help prepare you to become a developer, designer, artist, programmer, or quality assurance professional in the video game sector. In fact, Cumberlands has a number of programs that could put you on the path to a rewarding gaming sector career, from our Associate of Applied Science with a gaming concentration to our Executive Master of Science in Data Science. Click here to request more information about any of our programs.