Washington Post: Like Video Games? Now you can major in them. (registration required or use bugmenot)
*"At Carnegie Mellon, students will have to take classes such as Intro to Entertainment Technology, Building Virtual Worlds and Game Design, as well as many others. But it's hard to measure the significance of these sorts of degrees. "*
It seems to me that the value in these classes is as preparation for the games industry -- these are the basic principles that one should know, and that one may even know intuitively. Like any other academic field, it's important to know the basic concepts at work, and to get a general introduction to games. Classes in this subject matter are at least as useful as "The Works of Shakespeare" or "Writers of the 19th Century" would be to a magazine editor -- that is to say, it provides helpful background, but is by no means a requirement.
I would think however, that anyone who wants to make a career in the video industry would naturally be an avid game player, and would have played as many games as they could have. I think there's a lot of value in playing the games, particularly in the games industry.
*"The idea of a video game education is so new that, even within the gaming industry, the jury is still out on whether these degrees are worth the sheepskin they're printed on."*
It's very true that the jury is still quite out on it -- and it seems to me, from the applicants I've seen that what matters most is not where you went to school, or what degree you attained or majored in, but rather what your abilities are. Going to one of these schools and getting a degree won't ensure a job in the games industry.
In the games industry, I've seen people who didn't finish high school and I've seen people with Ph.Ds. It really comes down to two things and I think it's true in anything that people work towards: patience and perserverence. If games is really what matters to you, then you'll find a way into it. The degree may help opening some doors a bit easier (the value of networking) but there's no substitute for experience or ability. The article has a quote from Mark Jacobs, founder of Mythic Entertainment Inc who said: "Degrees are good, experience is better."
The article ends with Ahmed, a games industry job seeker, saying about doing it on his own: "I need a team of 100 people and millions of dollars, I don't have that."
I don't agree with that. Anyone can make a game on their own. I was making my own when I was 14. Getting it published and selling millions of copies, that's another matter entirely.
The extended entry includes tips on how to get a job in the industry without experience.