On Monday, New York City mayor Eric Adams announced the start of the CCNY game design degree program. The City College of New York will begin offering a bachelor’s degree in game design this fall.
This makes CCNY the first public institution in NYC to offer such a program. The $2 Million dollar program will be funded by the city and is designed to train students for careers in the video game industry.
“New York City has always been the center of innovation, but it is time that New York City level up and finally become a leader in the digital gaming space,” Mayor Adams said. “It’s time to take advantage of all the talent we have here in New York by investing in the future of gaming.”New York City Mayor Eric Adams
The program is a partnership between City College of New York and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The goal is to reach 1,000 students in the next three years and grow New York City’s profile in the video game industry.
Only two schools offered educations in game design previously: Parsons School for Design and New York University. Both are private schools so one objective with this new program is to make game design more accessible. Because private schools are significantly more expensive than public schools and tuition isn’t going anywhere but up.
Which brings me to the question: is this a good idea?
Game design is a narrow skillset. And the video game industry is notorious for being difficult to break into. Spending college-level money on a skillset that only “qualifies” you to work in one field everyone and their mom wants to work in (and that you don’t even need a degree to break into) seems like a less-than-ideal decision.
This isn’t medicine where the pay off for being so specialized is a large sum of money. This is game design—an industry infamous for underpaid and overworked employees.
If you want to get into game design, learn how to code. Work on your art and design skills and build a fan base. Go on Steam and play around with the huge library of game development tools. Build things that show off your ability to take an idea from conception to reality. Go to networking events in the video game industry.
There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself to excel in the video game industry without paying for a degree.
“Today, we are going to level up! We are investing in our future and the future of New York City gaming development.”New York City Mayor Eric Adams
Here’s to hoping this program is a success and produces 1,000 game designers who love their jobs and receive fair compensation.
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