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Blitz: Industry must be pro-active on education issues

Arcade director Chris Swan on the importance of working with academia

Chris Swan, director of Blitz Arcade, has told that the industry needs to "join together and focus" on being pro-active with the education system in the UK.

In an interview building up to last week's Game Connection event in Lyon, Swan explained that most people with the best experience to teach gaming courses are those still making games, and that current lecturers need to be better informed.

"I think that's a key thing that we all need to join together and focus on," he said. "Because the trouble you're going to have otherwise, which I think we found quite a bit to start with, was that the lecturers for gaming courses aren't necessarily well-versed in what you need to be in game development.

"Because most people who would be good at game development are still making games. There's not too much incentive for people to go back to the academic world and be a lecturer on games if you can still have the buzz of making games happen.

"So I do think we need to work closely with the academic world to make sure that courses are appropriate. We've found quite a few times people learning Java, which isn't a language we use particularly at all in games development."

Swan's comments are the latest in a long line of industry executives to question the effectiveness of some higher education courses that purport to teach graduates the right skills to get a job in the games business.

One challenge that the institutions face is the rate of change of technology, with a completely new platform landscape now compared to three years ago - but that's not a good enough excuse for Swan.

"Yes, that's definitely a factor, but it can't be just games that has that problem. I'm sure that media studies runs into that sort of collision, or they are now that things are becoming so convergent.

"Perhaps we should focus more on the Dare to be Digital approach and actually try to get teams making things in cross-discipline groups - they're the skills that are going to help a lot more."

The full interview with Chris Swan is available now.

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