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SALT LAKE CITY -- The video game industry is expanding, and as a result, the number of colleges offering degrees in video game design nearly doubled last year with the University of Utah joining that number.
The Princeton Review listed the top schools for video game design for undergrad and grad students. The school most recommended for the video game design program is the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, but the University of Utah ranked 3rd in the nation.
There certainly is an increase in visibility in game design, and schools are. . . putting out students that are employable.
–- David Soto, director of content development at the Princeton Review
"There certainly is an increase in visibility in game design, and schools are. . . putting out students that are employable," David Soto, director of content development at the Princeton Review told USA Today in an interview.
Game design students are indeed in heavy demand. The employment rate in the video game industry grew 8.6 percent each year from 2005 to 2009 with more than 120,000 employees. The average starting salary for undergraduates has risen from $51,927 last year to $54,054. And the annual salary for grad students' rose from $59,539 to $62,862.
Not only has the video game industry been increasing their figures, but the interest in game design has also increased. The University of Southern California receives hundreds of applicants for the 15 to 20 undergraduate slots and 15 graduate slots annually.
"Students need to be able to walk into industry five years from now, armed with the type of skills that today are just emerging," Tracy Fullerton, chair of the Interactive Media Division at USC told USA Today.
Some new areas of emphasis in video game design includes social and mobil games, motion caption and 3-D games, as well as guesture-based control such as Microsoft's Kinect. With the new steps in gaming technology, video gaming is increasingly competitive- whether playing or designing.