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Media Design School launches New Zealand’s first game development degrees

New undergraduate degree programs will support continued industry growth


Two short films from Media Design School recognized at the 2011 Honolulu Film Awards

Media Design School has been supplying the game industry with talent since 2004 when it launched the Graduate Diploma of Game Development. However, two new degree programs — the Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art) and the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Programming) — will ensure the industry is populated with a new level of talent.

The comprehensive three-year bachelor degree programs have been developed in close collaboration with local and international game studios to ensure graduates are primed to enter the industry. Intense project-based learning replicates the studio environment, giving students experience of game production processes.

Media Design School CEO Frances Valintine said offering world-class degrees in this high growth digital sector was a natural and exciting progression. “The New Zealand game industry is growing due to the global demand for game content across all platforms — console, mobile, PC and online. This growth has continued year-on-year for over a decade and the projected future demand for game programmers and game artists exceeds the level of qualified graduates who enter the sector each year,” said Valintine. She added that few industries offered the job security and level of salary that game graduates receive.

New Zealand’s game industry has made major leaps in recent years thanks to early adoption of digital distribution coupled with global demand for online and social games. Globally, the game industry now rakes in more than twice the revenue of Hollywood films and three times that of the recording industry.*

There has never been a better time to consider a career in games, said New Zealand Game Development Association (NZDGA) Chairperson Stephen Knightly. “Video games are high-tech, creative, digital exports -- exactly the kind of products New Zealand wants to export more of. The New Zealand digital industry considers itself fortunate to have an asset such as Media Design School located here.”Knightly said the skills used when making games are also highly transferable to corporate IT, web design, advertising and animation.

NZGDA is currently working with a range of government agencies on policies and programs for New Zealand to capitalize on the boom in digital games and content. Media Design School will welcome the first intake of bachelor students for the game-focused degrees in August this year.

Interested students are invited to visit the Media Design School website at for more information on the degrees.

* Sources: Gartner Research, Motion Picture Association of America, Recording Industry Association of America.