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U games program expands to South Korea

With market interest in game-related development and employment on the rise, an increase in the establishment of academic programs related to gaming has followed. The University of Utah has followed this trend by expanding its renowned undergraduate gaming program from Salt Lake City to its University of Utah Asia Campus in Incheon, South Korea.

The U has long been at the forefront of gaming education. It was the first institution in the United States to have an e-sports team and has secured top positions in games programs for 23 years according to multiple college rankings. Most recently, in September 2023, the program was ranked No. 1 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report.

The U also enjoys the unique position of having an extended campus in South Korea—a hotbed of the gaming world due to the country’s robust investment in technology infrastructure.

According to the 2022 South Korea Game Report published by the Korea Creative Content Agency, the domestic game industry’s revenue in 2021 increased by 11.2% compared to the previous year, reaching $16 billion (approximately KRW 21 trillion). Export revenue also saw a 5.8% increase to USD 8.6 billion (approximately KRW 11.5 trillion) compared to the previous year.

In celebration of U Games coming to the U Asia Campus, we spoke with Gregory Bayles, a five-year member of the top-ranked faculty at the University of Utah, who has been actively involved in the medical gaming field, contributing to medical and therapeutic apps and game development.

Could you introduce the Games program? Why is it unique?

The University of Utah’s Games program is an undergraduate degree program that allows students to create and publish various types of video games.

It goes beyond mere entertainment, emphasizing the importance of education in traditional games for purposes beyond gaming. Students gradually learn game development by acquiring basic skills such as game development languages, programming basics, and arts.

The program concludes with a capstone project, where about 30 students work in small teams over two semesters to develop a new game together.

Our Games program is recognized as one of the best in public universities in the United States and holds the top e-sports team. We maintain a passionate community of about 1,100 students who are enthusiastic about gaming and academic achievements.

What sets the University of Utah’s Games program apart from other universities?

The University of Utah’s Games program focuses on turning game developers into team players.

Emphasizing collaboration and studio simulation experiences to reflect the actual game industry, students can collaborate with team members possessing diverse backgrounds and expertise to release a game.

Importantly, all students at the University of Utah’s Games department must develop and release a game by graduation, and the intellectual property rights arising from this work are entirely owned by the respective student.

Some students think that Games departments are only for programmers. Do you agree?

I disagree. Our Games department includes people from various backgrounds. I, too, majored in English literature and later learned coding and art.

There are no specific background limitations to succeed in the gaming field. People from diverse fields such as music and medicine are in the gaming industry.

What advice do you have for students interested in studying Games in college?

It’s important to dispel the misconception that game development is impossible and to give it a try. Learn accessible game engines such as Game Maker, Godot, Unreal and Unity.

Game developers come from diverse backgrounds, so invest passionately in the field you love, and you will find your place in the gaming industry.

Learn more about the Games program at the U Asia Campus.