Hello iD Nation!
We're getting excited about the launch of the new summer camp season. Just 3 1/2 months until the start of camp! It might seem far away to you, but we eat, sleep and drink this stuff. Yesterday at lunch, we had a group of people here in the main office try their hands at Guitar Hero 2. As you know, Guitar Hero is an awesome game that we'll be using at all iD Tech Camps locations this summer.
But don't think for a second that we're going to let our campers have all the glory. We're practicing hard here in the main office, getting ready to challenge our campers.
I personally want to be ready to take on our campers this summer. There is nothing WORSE than being beat by the CEO of iD--except for, maybe, being beat by the CFO, Alexa. So, watch out! And, when it happens, you better believe that we are going to blog the stats.
iD Tech Camps has built its reputation for consistently pushing the envelope with creative tech course offerings that are slightly ahead of their time. It's probably not surprising that video game camp courses are a substantial portion of our course portfolio. Parents often ask us "will my student learn anything?" The question is valid. And the answer is "yes."
Here are a couple of questions I'd like you to consider:
Can You Make A Living In The Industry?
According to The New York Times (January 31, 2007), "the video game industry generated more than $12 billion in sales last year." The video game industry is now larger than the movie industry. (This seems to be a favorite stat of the video game industry--I can't blame them). But it doesn't take a rocket scientist (or computer scientist) to recognize that the industry is on fire. Major game development studios are having a tough time filling their job openings, despite the fact that there are more gamers out there than ever. Can you spell OPPORTUNITY? In the past five years, we've had thousands of inquiries from students asking how they can break into the industry. We've answered that question with an awesome game development program offered exclusively at UCLA, Stanford, Berkeley and Villanova--the iD Gaming Academy. This is an intensive 3-week program that gives teens a window into the world of game development. Something we always tell our students is that a typical blockbuster game can take multiple years to develop and the level of collaboration between teams and hundreds of individuals is incredible. We hope to give our students a taste of the true game development environment.
Can You Make A Living Just Playing Games, Rather Than Working For A Studio?
Yes. But it isn't easy. I was flying home from Los Angeles earlier in the week and came across an article in Southwest's Spirit Magazine about Fatal1ity. Fatal1ity, aka Jonathan Wendel, is a 25-year-old PC pro-gamer who is attracting a lot of buzz these days. He was recently featured on 60 Minutes. If you don't know about him. You will. He is called the Babe Ruth of E-sportsmen and has an enviable list of endorsements...oh, and by the way, he makes more than a "comfortable" living being a professional athlete. We should also note that he is not just good at gaming, he is also a well-rounded athlete himself. But before you decide to ditch high school or college for the Major League Gaming pro circuit, we encourage you to gain some valuable skills at one of our eSports summer camps. You'll hone your skills at some of the top selling games on the market--and you'll make Mom and Dad happy that you are honing your gaming skills during summer break.
Is There Educational Value In What You Teach?
It does seem strange, doesn't it? You can actually learn something from making a video game, or even playing a video game? This all seems counter-intuitive as we envision our kids lumped on a couch with a bag of chips and a soda in one hand and a joystick in the other. We think their brains will turn to mush if they game too much. The term "video game" has an inherent stigma that correlates with "waste of time." But is it fair? Last year the Federation of American Scientists (Newsweek, Oct. 19, 2006) released a study that found that "best-selling video games are built in surprisingly pedagogical ways." Those who play must experiment, fail and learn. Many games require collaboration and leadership. Players can be challenged and continually gauge progress while proceeding at their own pace. To me, it seems that we're finally starting to wake up. Is it time to at least challenge conventional wisdom? We now realize that if gaming is what a student loves, and if gaming is what they know, then maybe it is time that we embrace their passion. I don't see the preponderance of schools clamoring to introduce gaming into their curriculum anytime soon, but I am sure that if we can find ways to use gaming as a tool in the classroom (as we do at iD Tech) then we may be on to something. Something big.
Gaming is here. It is real. Let's embrace it. Game on!