Can focus on Video Games and Visual Effects enhance STEM education efficiency?

February 22, 2011 at 9:17 am 5 comments

Is this last thought true, that opportunities in video games are growing?  Last I heard, we already have an over-supply of video game programmers.  Each programmer is actually pretty productive, so a relatively small number of programmers is all that the relatively small number of major game studios really need.  Is that not the case?

An increasing number of schools and teachers now recognize that games can be used to improve mathematics, physics and computer science outcomes in the classroom itself.

Moreover, awareness of opportunities in these industries and the requisite skills will add a modern and exciting flavor to the study of these subjects, normally considered dry and boring, and thus attract more students towards them. These disciplines would then be viewed as leading to creative careers rather than technical ones alone.

Thus, the report suggests  “We need to set in motion a virtuous circle where video games and visual effects help draw young people into maths, physics and computer science, and improve their learning outcomes, in turn enlarging the talent pool for these industries in the future. Schools should do more to encourage cross-curricular learning. Career guidance needs to reflect the growing employment opportunities in high-tech creative industries like video games and visual effects.”

via Can focus on Video Games and Visual Effects enhance STEM education efficiency?.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike H  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    So when I doing interviews at Zipper, I got the impression that new hiring – including programmers without game experience – was a pretty common occurrence there. So my guess would be that the game industry is indeed growing – unfortunately it looks like the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies game programmers as software engineers ( so no way to tell how much faster/slower vs. tech overall.

    That said, I’m sure Zipper rejects many more candidates than it hires, even among folks with CS degrees. No different from any of the upper-tier tech employers in that regard…

  • 2. Alfred Thompson  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    The major game studios focus on set top boxes and they are very difficultto get jobs with. There is a growing market for casual games online and for mobile games (mostly on phones) that are much easier to break into. This is where the game startup activity is taking place.
    A lot of the knowledge base for game development fits into simularion and data visualization applications. both of these are still growing.
    Also I think there is a market, still not really satisfied, for game that teach. Tricky stuff- mixing fun and learning.

    • 3. John "Z-Bo" Zabroski  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Getting jobs is becoming easier, but keeping them is becoming harder. The big game companies are letting go experienced employees moreso than in the past.

      At the same time, it is very hard to create a startup video game company targeted to Xbox360/PS3 due to the development kit costs. — I just thought I’d say that explicitly, since you are a Microsoft employee.

      • 4. Alfred Thompson  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        Yes targetting the set top boxes is still very expensive. There is a marketplace on Xbox Live for independents to create and sell games but I imagine that getting a lot of mind share can be difficult. The phone game market place is similar. One can create and sell games for the iPhone, Android phones and Windows Phones at a fairly low start up cost. Gaining any sort of real market share, especially enough to get to move into the set top box market, is difficult at best. Though some people are making money at it.
        I think that as tablet formats develop – iPad is too limited and PC tablets still too costly (IMHO) – that schools will be intereted in learning game that involve touch as a UI and collaboration as a part of the game. I don’t see the large game companies moving into this market because of low margins (again my personal opinion) but it may be an opening for independents.

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