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New Research Underscores Breadth and Vibrancy of U.S. Video Game Industry

Report Highlights Increasing Number of Development Studios and Video Game Design Programs

OCTOBER 27, 2015 – WASHINGTON, DC – 1,641 video game development studios and publishing companies operate 1,871 separate video game facilities nationwide, according to new research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association representing the U.S. video game industry, and the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA), a consortium of more than 80 colleges and universities that offer video game design programs. ESA and HEVGA also announced that 406 U.S. colleges and universities offer graduate and undergraduate degrees or professional certificates in video game design and development – an increase from 390 in 2014. These college programs and game companies stretch across 46 states and 84 percent of congressional districts.

“The video game industry is helping fuel the American economy. From outstanding video game design programs that prepare future leaders with critical skills necessary to succeed to outstanding studios that create immersive world-leading entertainment, this is a snapshot of the American creative tech engine,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of ESA. “Our industry thrives anywhere there is talent and an environment conducive to growth. This data reflects the truly national impact of our industry.”

Degree programs range from awarding professional certificates and associate degrees to bachelor and master’s degrees. Schools recently adding such programs include University of Delaware, University of Florida, Lock Haven University, Texas A&M University and University of Wisconsin-Madison. A number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), including Howard University and Kentucky State University, were also new to the list this year.

“Video games are unique multidisciplinary platforms, intersecting fields like healthcare, education and the arts,” said Constance Steinkuehler, executive director of HEVGA. “Programs in game development and design allow students to build a foundation of knowledge that prepares them for success in high-tech jobs across sectors, which is why so many of our graduates go into a broad range of careers from the gaming industry, to national defense to creating their own tech startups.”

California leads the nation with 66 schools offering video game-related programs. Other leading states include Texas (29), Pennsylvania (26), Florida (21), New York (20), North Carolina (19), Arizona (14), New Jersey (14), Illinois (14), Michigan (12) and Massachusetts (12).

Research shows that game development programs are effectively preparing students for successful careers. According to a study conducted by HEVGA, 93 percent of program alumni have gainful employment one year after graduating and are earning an average salary of $76,200, or $24,000 more than the U.S. national average. These students also reported high rates of job satisfaction and wellbeing, with 89 percent saying they are “thriving” in their workplace.

As of October of 2015, there are more than 1,600 video game studios and publishers in the United States. The top five states with the highest number of video game company locations are California (546), Texas (196), New York (154), Washington (149) and Massachusetts (92).

The complete list of schools offering video game courses and degree programs can be found at: http://www.theesa.com/about-esa/courses-certificates-degree-programs/. An infographic highlighting key findings from the research, including a map of game programs and companies, is available here.

About the Entertainment Software Association

ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including conducting business and consumer research, providing legal and policy analysis and advocacy on First Amendment, intellectual property and technology/e-commerce issues, managing a global anti-piracy program, owning and operating E3, and representing video game industry interests in federal and state government relations. For more information, please visit www.theESA.com or follow us on Twitter at @RichatESA or @ESAGovAffairs.

About the Higher Education Video Game Alliance

The mission of Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA): “To create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources – including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st Century learning environment.” For more information, please visit http://www.higheredgames.org or follow HEVGA on Twitter:@HigherEdGames.

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