According to a new study by the U.S.-based trade group Entertainment Software Association, as the popularity of video games has increased, there is a much higher demand for game degree programs in colleges and universities.
During the 2011-12 academic year, there will be 343 different programs available in game design, development and programming across all American colleges, universities, art and trade schools.
This total includes 301 undergraduate programs, and 42 graduate programs, spread across 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. California leads the pack, with 54 institutions offering game-related programs. Texas follows, with 24 total institutions.
The ESA noted that the increase in demand comes as more than 120,000 people are now employed by games companies in the U.S., and 72 percent of American households now play video games.
Rich Taylor, senior VP at the ESA, explained, "It is encouraging to see so many institutions of higher learning preparing students for careers in our creative and high-tech industry."
"Video games are everywhere - nearly three quarters of American households play games, and education, healthcare and business professionals are using them to help us lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. With an increasing number of schools now offering graduate programs in game design and development, students have even greater access to the training they need to meet this growing demand."
Earlier this year, the ESA clashed
with an Iowa State University study, issuing a warning over the "flawed" study that alleged a link between video games and mental health problems in children.