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Home » Video Games & Esports » How can embedding industry expertise in games degrees produce future-proofed graduates?

Erin Hughes

Abertay University School of Design and Informatics

Fraser Simpson

Abertay University School of Design and Informatics

Academic video games research has exploded in recent years. For games students, there’s a clear, job-focused benefit to support from a multidisciplinary teaching staff with decades of industry experience.

One of the keys at Abertay University has been ensuring we are matching what’s happening in studios as closely as possible and listening to the needs of our industry partners across the world.

Replicating an industry environment

In practice, this means continually growing or refreshing our range of degrees and their content, employing lecturers with prior industry experience, bringing current games studio mentors into the classroom for tutorials and masterclasses and investing in the best software and equipment.

On top of that, we ensure all students complete real-world professional projects in year three, meaning they have had a taste of creating a real game for a real client before they graduate. Our digital artists work with designers, managers and programmers, just as they would in the workplace.

Since launching the world’s first games degree in 1997, Abertay University has developed a suite of accredited courses. It’s been really important to us to have accreditation from the likes of Screenskills, TIGA and PlayStation First, as well as the benchmarking from the Princeton Review, which ranks Abertay as the top International School for video games design. It gives that assurance of external quality that will set our students apart in job interviews.

Games sales in the UK continued to grow
by 2.9% in 2023, reaching £4.74 billion
— 40% of all entertainment sales.

Growing a games ecosystem

According to the Entertainment and Retail Association, games sales in the UK continued to grow by 2.9% in 2023, reaching £4.74 billion — 40% of all entertainment sales. Much of that was concentrated in the UK’s ‘games clusters,’ which include Dundee, Scotland. The industry in Dundee is so interwoven with the University that it makes collaboration and responding to changes in technology easy.

The city’s probably best known for Grand Theft Auto and Minecraft, but when you delve deeper, you’ll find a thriving community of indie developers creating amazing games and a large network of studios employing predominantly our graduates. This makes for an incredibly connected game development community, which benefits our students from their very first weeks here.

Our active community of researchers also plays a massive part; they’re constantly pushing the conventional boundaries of what games are for and coming up with new processes and projects to help support the needs of industry.

Being in and around this hub of expertise means our graduates get a much more comprehensive education and have the opportunity to take their careers or businesses in a significantly wider variety of directions.

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