As parents, we sometimes worry about the screen time our children spend with video games. Their passion can seem strange to us, but we shouldn’t discount it! Gaming can improve essential aspects of their development.
If you’re concerned that your child is spending too much time in front of a screen, consider having them use this time to be productive.
For example, research suggests that kids who play video games can improve their focus and problem-solving skills, boost creativity and even reduce stress.
Another aspect to think about is the future.
Did you know that the games industry is now bigger than the movie industry? There’s never been a better time to consider your child’s interest in this topic and how it could affect their career. Your child could easily go from playing games to designing and creating the best-sellers of tomorrow.
The bright future of video game development
In 2016 the money spent on video games hit $92 billion USD. To place that into perspective, that’s more money than what was spent on movies and music combined.
The video games industry is now said to be five times bigger than the music industry, and one and a half times bigger than film.
It’s only set to increase further, particularly with the rise in mobile gaming and virtual reality (VR) technology.
The benefits to being a video game designer
Why would it be a good career choice? How could your child fit in?
Here are just some of the roles that make up video game design.
#1: Video game designers bring stories to life
Creative children may have a special interest in video games. It’s an inherently creative industry, after all! The most important task for a video game designer is to come up with an idea, then bring it to life on the screen.
In every game, someone needs to develop a story, rules for the game, and how it all visually comes together as an end product.
Children who enjoy playing video games today could end up building the games of the future. One day, it could be their creative ideas being brought to life.
#2: There is already a skills shortage in a growing industry
As we’ve already touched upon, the games industry is growing. There’s going to be a far higher demand for skilled developers and programmers in the future. But even today, there’s a shortage of suitable candidates in the tech industry. Companies are already crying out for people to fill these types of roles.
Recent research conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, showed that almost half of science, technology, engineering, and maths jobs are hard to fill… and those types of disciplines are exactly the skills that games developers tend to be strong in.
#3: There’s good money to be earned in the games industry
How much game developers get paid will depend on various factors. Their skills, experience, and age for example. This is true of most careers.
To give you an idea, video game designers are on average earning in excess of £40k per year in today’s job market.
Developers who branch out on their own to create the next big thing can earn even more. For example, in 2012 the creator of Minecraft earned $101 million USD!
#4: Video game designers are getting paid for their passion
Every single video game designer was once that little kid who said, “I want to make computer games when I grow up,” and now they’re getting paid for what they love to do.
Being a games developer is an ambition voiced by many children, and it’s hardly a surprise considering how much time many of them now spend on consoles, smartphones, and tablets.
#5: The job combines multiple disciplines, not just technology
Whilst computer game design is at the core a technology role, it can be so much more than that.
Your typical game designer will have a background in computer science, but also a passion and skill for art and design. There are many games designers who started off being art students, then supplemented that skill with computing further down the line.
How can your child get into game design?
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many universities in the UK who offer game design as a degree course. It’s still only a handful. And in terms of schools, there are very few that will teach children these skills outside of after school clubs.
At FunTech we offer a range of summer time holiday camps where your child can learn to design games in a fun and engaging environment.
They don’t have to be skilled coders. As long as they have a passion for games, are eager to learn, and want to develop their skills, it’s something they can do.
With a FunTech course such as 3D Game Design, your child can learn to design their own game from scratch. They’ll see their ideas come to life on the screen! We use the same software, Unity Game Engine, used by industry-leading AAA level studios and indie developers.
We also offer a 2D Game Design course. Here your child will learn to master the development tools and coding constructs required to design, build and export a fully functioning game. At the end, they’ll have a real game playable on mobile devices, that they made themselves!
There’s also Python Game Developer, which has more of a coding foundation. Children will learn about of object oriented coding and use it to create interactive 2D games.
At FunTech, we believe that video games have opened the door to many new opportunities for children. It’s up to us as parents to help our kids tap into that passion. They could be the leaders who create new experiences for the future.