The video game industry is on the rise with powerful new classics like Fortnite Battle Royale, and a growing multi-billion dollar a year industry. This is a career path that is only set to explode over the next 20 years with gaming taking on new dimensions including virtual reality, augmented reality games, and AI video games.

To prepare students for this growing industry more schools have programs in Video Game Design, and camps, and conferences, and studios completely devoted to video game design.

E-sports games that combine professional competitive gaming for titles and prizes—draw huge crowds, and even televised coverage, at large events all over the world have become mainstream and are even featured on ESPN, and other mainstream news websites. Without video game designers there would be no video games, and no competitions, and no leagues, or tournaments.

What Does A Video Game Designer Do ?

A video game begins with a concept. A proposal is drafted by a team of game designers, who address important details such as target audience, requirements, deadlines, and budgets. Video game designers make that concept of gameplay and layout come alive, often through experimentation with several themes and genres, as well as developments and improvements on existing games.

There are many types of game designers who focus on a particular aspect of gameplay. Most designers will spend at least some of their time as testers, where they can experiment with coding and watch others’ mistakes firsthand. Lead designers are the coordinators of the team and are responsible for communication inside and outside of the design team, as well as making important decisions. A game mechanics designer works on the balance of the game and its rule system. Lastly, an environmental designer is responsible for creating the different scenarios and environments of the game.

A game will undergo millions of changes throughout its making, and game designers are required to constantly recheck and recode thousands of lines of code. A designer can also be called upon to develop a game to focus on a particular aspect, such as market, design, technology, or art.

Games that are market-driven are designed to make a profit, and therefore their progress is limited to consumer demand. Most games are developed in this manner. Games that are design-driven allow the designer to take full reign of the game and its aspects. Many games are not developed in this manner because of monetary restraints. Games that are technology-driven are created in order to highlight a technological achievement or to market gaming consoles and engines, such as high-quality graphic displays. Rarely, a game will be art-driven, where a game is focused on visual effects and impressive designs created by artists.

That’s why this career path is ever more so important than ever before. The following schools were selected based on data from The Princeton Review, and NCES to feature the Best Video Game Design Colleges & Programs.

Best Video Design Colleges

Our ranking is based on data gleaned from NCES and The Princeton Review
RankingCollegeMeta Score
1University of Southern California100
2New York University98
3DigiPen Institute of Technology96
4Becker College96
5Rochester Institute of Technology93
6University of Utah92
7Michigan State University90
8Hampshire College88
9Worcester Polytechnic Institute87
10LaSalle College – Vancouver86
11Drexel University85
12Champlain College85
13Cogswell College85
14Vancouver Film School84
15Bradley University84
16Miami University83
17University of California–Santa Cruz83
18Ferris State University81
19Abertay University80
20Laguna College of Art and Design80
21Savannah College of Art and Design80
22Shawnee State University79
23Northeastern University78
24University of Wisconsin-Stout78
25Academy of Art University77
26Ringling College of Art + Design76
27DePaul University76
28Sheridan College75
29Quinnipiac University75
30Kennesaw State University74
31Full Sail University73
32New Jersey Institute of Technology72
33Lawrence Technological University72
34Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute71
35University of Central Florida71
36Marist College71
37Abilene Christian University69
38Maryland Institute College of Art68
39Dakota State University66
40Cleveland Institute of Art65
41New England Institute of Technology64
42Sacred Heart University64
43Bloomfield College64
44University of Michigan-Dearborn63
45Cornell University63
46Eastern Kentucky University63
47Oklahoma Christian University61
48Massachusetts Institute of Technology60
49Western University58
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    The University of Southern California, founded in 1880, is a private, comprehensive university. As a major research university, USC provides undergraduates with an extraordinary range of academic programs and encourages study and research across disciplines. This breadth of programs means that students can combine both strong liberal arts and professional studies. USC’s 155-acre main campus location puts the incomparable resources offered by Los Angeles and southern California within easy reach. Students draw on these resources for research and internships, for exploring arts and community service and for working at the center of developing information technologies. Within this driven, forward-thinking, far-flung area, USC students maintain a strong sense of community.

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