AUSTIN (KXAN) — The gaming industry has come a long way since the days of Pong, Pac-Man, and Galaga.
Today, the growing industry is worth more than $100 billion with experts estimating that number to go up.
This weekend, thousands will gather at the Austin Convention Center for Rooster Teeth’s annual RTX Austin — a convention focused on gaming and animation.
“It’s a field that just isn’t stopping or plateauing in terms of expectations, it’s constantly growing and going with the latest technology,” Seth Rogers, a gaming student at Austin Community College said.
In 2007, Austin Community College launched its Creative Design Technology program. During the fall of 2008, roughly 300 students were enrolled. That number exploded to more than 1,500 students during the 2018-2019 school year.
Rogers is one of those students.
“I started playing on NES Super Mario,” said Rogers recalling his early memories. “I was six-years-old.”
His curiosity and love for gaming got a boost when he realized he could turn it into a career.
“We have a huge community here in Austin when it comes to game development studios,” Kalani Streicher, a gaming professor at Austin Community College said.
According to a study from JLL, a commercial real estate company, Austin is home to more than half of the video game development companies in Texas. The study found Austin had 140 studios.
“There’s a big demand for resources,” added Streicher.
Students at ACC learn how to create and animate 2-D and 3-D characters, build immersive worlds and design interactive games. Rogers believes this could soon be used to change the way we interact.
“Video games can be more than games we play, it’s a form of interaction, a form of entertainment but can also be used as a form of education,” he said.
ACC isn’t alone in it’s efforts to provide a gaming education. The University of Texas at Austin introduced a new Game Development and Design Program that will award students with a four-year bachelor’s degree upon completion.
Parents can start their kids early with the University Interscholastic League currently looking at the idea of adding eSports as a UIL-sanctioned activity. This could pay off. More than 30 colleges are offering scholarships for e-gaming.