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Game Design Schools in California
Video game play has become one of America’s favorite pastimes. In fact, around 65 percent of U.S. households play video games, and we’re not just talking kids and teens. What you might not know is, the average age of a gamer is around 32, and every 2 out of 5 players are female. The video game industry has changed dramatically over the years, and so have the programs that churn out the world’s top designers. These programs go beyond teaching techniques. They teach aspiring game designers how to run their own businesses, market their ideas, and manage teams. Not surprisingly, a number of these programs are offered at schools in the state of California—the entertainment capital of the world.
Before we discuss California’s game design schools, take a look at the other benefits for aspiring game designers living here. California is home to a variety of gaming conventions such as E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), Kublacon, Gamex, BlizzCon, E for All, Orcon, and Gateway to name a few. E3 is the world's premier tradeshow for computer and video games and related products. E3 is one of the largest game expo in the country. It is owned and operated by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), which is “the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies, publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet.”
In addition to game conventions galore, California is home to so many major game design companies, you’ll lost count. Just a few include Activision, Disney Interactive Studios, Electronic Arts/EA Games, 42 Entertainment, and Blizzard Entertainment.
California Game Design Schools
California is home to more art schools than any other state. California’s 450+ accredited colleges offer the widest variety of art degree programs in the U.S., and the number grows each year. Scroll through the list below to review California’s best options for aspiring digital artists and what they have to offer.
University of Southern California (USC) - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Entertainment; M. F. A. Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Media
Ex’pression College for Digital Arts - Degrees Offered: B. A. S. Animation and Visual Effects; Game Art and Design; Motion Graphic Design
Academy of Art University - Degrees Offered: A. A., B. F. A., M. F. A. Animation and Visual Effects; B. F. A., M. F. A. Game Design; A. A., B. F. A., M. F. A. Graphic Design; A. A., B. F. A., M. F. A. Illustration
University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) - Degrees Offered: B. A. Film and Digital Media, Art: Electronic/Digital Media; B. S. Computer Science: Computer Game Design; M. F. A. Digital Arts and New Media; Ph. D. Film and Digital Media, Computer Science with focus on Games
Art Center College of Design - Degrees Offered: B. S. Entertainment Design; B. F. A. Graphic Design; B. F. A. Illustration
More California schools with Game Design and related programs:
Employment and Salary Trends for California Game Designers
California is home to more than a quarter of a million artists and designers—more than any other state. This figure is expected to continue growing well into 2018. In 2002, the state was home to 226,000 artists and designers. The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report (March 27, 2012) states that this figure now stands at 274,570. The average salary for California artists and designers overall is $65,370 annually, up from $51,380 in 2002.
The U.S. is the number one video game market in the world and it is expected to generate $68 billion in business in 2012. Not only this, but at more than 200,000 strong, the game design population is expected to grow anywhere from three to six percent, according to some reports, while others predict an even higher increase. Overall, at an average of around $80,000 a year, game designers earn some of the highest average salaries in the U.S. The six-figure salary for top designers is quickly becoming common in this industry.
In the state of California, game designers are among the highest paid in the country. Depending on where you live, salaries may average from $57,000 up to $78,000+ per year. For example, Irvine designers average around $57,000 per year, while designers living in San Jose and San Francisco average around $78,000 per year. It is important to note that other factors such as company, experience, industry, benefits, and more may affect earnings.