APU launches Games and Interactive Media Degree

Cinematic Arts is launching a new degree in Games and Interactive Media in Fall 2019

Azusa Pacific University is in the process of launching a new degree in Games and Interactive Media. This new program launches in Fall 2019 and will be embedded in the Department of Cinematic Arts. This program gives students the opportunity to learn about the developmental processes of games, as well as the production and post-production processes of the gaming industry.

“Games and Interactive Media is a comprehensive program that begins with the fundamentals and ends with a professional-level game made by a student-led game development team,” Tim Samoff, director of the Games and Interactive Media Program said. “Along the way, students will learn the history, culture, business and theory of games, as well as the production processes for coming up with game ideas, pitching ideas and making both tabletop and digital games.”

The Department of Cinematic Arts houses many other programs such as screenwriting and cinematic arts production.

“Story is at the core of what unifies the cinematic arts department,” Greg Michael, chair of the Cinematic Arts department said. “Telling strong stories with compelling characters in challenging situations is therefore a critical element of our program and is a main component of our gaming and interactive media degree. Whether it’s experienced in a movie theater or on a television, computer, or smartphone screen, or in a video game or VR headset, most stories focus on a character or characters overcoming the challenges of living in a fallen world.”

While this program is centered around the gaming industry, it is set up to allow students to minor in any area of their choosing, which could benefit their job search after college.

“The game industry has the unequaled opportunity of employing people from all over the job spectrum,” Samoff said. “Not only is it a highly creative field, but it also needs accountants, lawyers, admin assistants and even food services people.”

According to an article from NewZoo, $137.9 billion will be spent on games world-wide in 2018. It is projected that in 2019, game consumers will collectively spend $151.9 billion. Mobile gaming, games that can be played on a mobile device, was the smallest fragment of the gaming industry in 2012 but is now projected to be a $100 billion industry in 2021.

Michael shared his thoughts on the gaming industry.

“Navigating and succeeding in the entertainment industry is about both anticipating and steering the cultural conversation,” he said. “[Our] goal is to seize this moment, which really has gaming and interactive media in its infancy in terms of the academy, and help grow our program to be on the leading edge of producing impact players and difference makers. The popularity and demand for gaming, interactive media, artificial intelligence for games, virtual reality and the potential applications for all these are only going to grow as technology develops.”

It is the hope of program faculty that this major, and the work that comes with it, will contribute to building a new generation of difference makers.

“Recognizing the revolution in, and popularity of, games and interactive media technologies, this was a space in which we not only wanted to be a part [of], but also in which we wanted to be a significant player [in],” Michael said. “It fits perfectly with the university’s goal to be a difference maker and produce difference makers in the world.”

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