Top 5 Video Games

Mar 09, 2016

Most Anticipated Video Games of 2016 and the People who Create Them

Crackdown 3, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dishonored 2 and The Last Guardian are among some of the most anticipated video games hitting the market in 2016. Wired, a magazine dedicated to illuminating the way technology is changing every aspect of our lives, has included these four games on its list of must-play games for 2016.

Games which make use of virtual reality technology – available this year for the first time to consumers in a variety of formats – are among those receiving the highest praise from reviewers.  Gear VR, PlayStation VR, the Rift and the Vive are among the virtual reality forms available this year.

While planning, designing and creating these kinds of complex games for others to enjoy may feel more like fun than work, making video games is a serious business. The video game industry continues to grow in popularity, with projections for global gaming revenues expected to reach $107 billion by 2017.

According to the Global Games Market Report, global gaming revenues jumped by 9.4 percent in 2015 to reach $91.5 billion. The report indicates the future will continue to be bright for the gaming industry, thanks in part to interest from not only teens, but also other age demographics.

Anatomy of a Gamer

Video games aren’t just for kids anymore.

The Pew Research Center reports that over half a million American adults consider themselves gamers, with computers being the most popular gaming device among adult gamers. Roughly 21 percent said they play daily. The largest demographic of respondents – 81 percent – said they were age 18-29, with 55 percent being male. The next largest demographic is males, age 30-49, at 60 percent.

With so many people gaming, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects long-term demand for video game developers will remain high. The average annual salary for video game developers is $63,630, with 3,900 new job openings expected in this career field over the next decade.

Not only is the video game industry great for the economy, as it turns out, it also is beneficial to our mental well being. According to a report from the Entertainment Software Association, researchers at East Carolina University found a 57 percent decrease in depressive symptoms among individuals who played casual video games.

But it gets better.

Research conducted by the National Institute on Aging indicates that not only does physical exercise help protect the brain against the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s; playing a challenging video game also can help keep the mind finely-tuned. In addition to helping to prevent the onset of some memory-impairment diseases, video games which make use of virtual reality technology also are used for those already coping with these kinds of conditions.


Top Game Producers

Anyone who has ever played a well-designed video game can attest to the fact that it’s easy to get lost in one. Intense graphics and an awesome storyline are required to produce a top video game. It’s a combination that few have been able to master.

Among the top-rated video game producers on the market today are Naughty Dog, Telltale Games and Bioware.

Naughty Dog is well-known for creating compelling storylines that engage players, allowing them to completely immerse themselves in the experience. Add to that their ability to design complex characters with rich scenery and they have produced winning products such as The Uncharted series, Crash Bandicoot and The Last of Us.

In 2012, with their release of The Walking Dead interactive series, Telltale Games put itself on the map in a big way. The game perfectly mimicked the style of the comic book series on which it was based, attracting loyal fans. Since their debut, Telltale Games has continued to produce quality games which pay particular attention to the kind of storylines which attract dedicated gamers.

Bioware is all about making their customers’ dreams come true. From the classic RPG Baldur’s Gate to their Mass Effect trilogy, Bioware is not only great at producing engaging graphics – it also keeps a talented staff of storytellers on its payroll.

Best Schools for Gamers

It takes more than a great idea to design a top-rated video game. Programming and technical skills that can be acquired at a specialized school are a must.
One of the best schools in the nation for video game design is Full Sail University. Its specialized curriculum teaches students the production processes that are used by top video game design studios to produce the best-selling video games on the market. The program focuses on four major aspects of the field: production methodologies, project management, team leadership and a game capstone project.

Students enrolled in Full Sail’s program are required to complete a series of 12 consecutive courses, each lasting four weeks. The production process that is used by top studios to design and produce best-selling games is included in the course. Students will gain the ability to design games for all current platforms, including home consoles, computers, cell phones and other handheld electronic devices. Narrative design – storytelling, character sketching and level design – are a vital part of the coursework.

The senior capstone project portion of Full Sail University’s program is one of its best features. During the capstone project phase of the program, students work together on team-based projects to design and build their own video games from start to finish.

Some of Full Sail’s video game degree program graduates have gone on to make names for themselves in the video game design industry. In January 2015, Full Sail University master’s program graduates Erica Holcomb, Cameron Bolinger and Joeseph Arcidiacono raised money via a Kickstarter campaign to support the development of their game, PeriAreion. The real-time space exploration game has been picked up by indie game distribution website Steam. The trio also has founded their own studio, TBA Games.

Thirty-five of Full Sail University’s alumni were credited on 16 projects nominated in Game Awards 2014. Four of the nominated projects won awards.
The Art Institutes – a system of over 50 schools n North American that provides education to students pursuing creative careers – also offers a progressive program in video game design. Students enrolled in the Art Institutes program will learn the basics of 2D animation and 3D modeling and animation, and will learn how to prepare a game from concept to design to market.

Alumni from the Art Institutes have gone on to find success in the industry, including Steve Gabry, Co-owner and Creative Director at Wither Studios, and Julio Cesar Juarez, Environment Artist for Bioware.

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