Steven: Having this kind of experience in college definitely gives you a leg up over other students. Of course, any experience should give you a leg up. But experience in playing video games? Seriously?
Well, these young people — believe it or not — are actually studying at the Replay Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And the experience they gain here could help them get a job once they graduate.
“We actually created the rest of this all by ourselves — like all the models, all the characters, all the effects you see here, we did.
Steven: Using tools, like a motion capture studio and 3D modeling, Andrew Patras and his classmates are learning the art of video game development. And they are in the right place because it is a career and a business that is exploding.
In 2009, Americans bought more than $20 billion worth of video game systems and software. That is 3 billion more than the movie industry made. $18.7 billion in box office and DVD sales!
The entertainment part of the video game industry is huge. A modern title can make a couple hundred million dollars in one weekend.
Tom Bissell, who is the author of the new book Why Video Games Matter calls video games the artform of our time.
Tom Bissell: I think we are really on the verge of a wider acceptance that it’s not just nerds, it’s not just geeks that play these things. Some very intelligent, thoughtful, smart people are designing them and playing them.
Steven: People like you. Today more than 200 colleges offer gaming courses, training future workers in everything from art design to computer engineering who will one day work at video game giants like Electronic Arts, the company responsible for games like Madden Football and Tiger Woods Golf.
And check this out: EA says it is going to add more than 600 jobs this year. So, what is next for people that want to get started?
While many of the positions are for programmers and software enigneers, you could still be hired even if you have never taken a computer class. Making a game like Madden Football requires graphics artists, animators, writers, testers and even people with foreign language skills. Companies need people to translate games into and out of Japanese!
In this field, software engineers and programmers make the big bucks. They rake in an average of $80,000 and can make as much as six figures. Graphics artists earn an average of $42,000; animators $56,000; writers $53,000 and translators $39,000.
The average starting salary for video game developers? $40,000.
Philip Holt: There is a lot people, this is their first job — or one of their first jobs — right out of college
Steven: Philip Holt is EA’s Orlando studio general manager.
Philip: We love university students because they come in, they’re excited, they are a freshly-minted skill set, and you know they are looking to establish themselves and start a career and work hard and do great things.
Steven: And this game isn’t just for guys.
Philip: It’s a fun business but it’s a serious business as well. So, we actually have deadlines and goals that we have to accomplish. We just can’t sit around and play games all day. I wish we could.
Steven: Steven Fabian, Channel One News.