New research shows that gaming—long thought to be a waste of time—actually improves cognitive and social skills. It’s one of the most accessible, inclusive activities for students. And, professional video gaming has become a big business, so job opportunities are swelling.
“Colleges can play a role in preparing students for this burgeoning industry by investing resources in video gaming and related academic programs,” writes NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D., in a VentureBeat op-ed.
Critics argue that video games have few practical applications and even stunt intellectual growth, but that conventional wisdom has been proven wrong, Foley notes. Many games actually improve attention, memory, and decision-making.
Video games also improve “computational thinking,” an advanced problem-solving approach that is becoming increasingly crucial in the professional world. It involves breaking down a problem, identifying patterns, and developing solutions. They can even improve social skills and help people form relationships, according to a study published in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
The gaming industry also offers a wide array of potential career opportunities. So there will be a slew of jobs to fill—from marketers and consultants to communications specialists and video game designers.
Universities are already setting up eSports teams; NYIT recently started a team as well, Foley shares.
While only a relative handful of students will ultimately become professional gamers, many students could work in the wider eSports industry, as long as schools equip them for success. ESports careers abound in the medical field, too, Foley adds, citing the Center for eSports Medicine at NYIT.
Video games offer significant social, cognitive, and economic benefits. In sum, they prepare people for real-world scenarios. “It’s up to colleges and universities to up their game and prepare students for this booming industry,” Foley concludes.
Read the full op-ed.
This op-ed is part of an NYIT thought-leadership campaign designed to help generate awareness and build reputation for the university on topics of national relevance. Read more op-eds by NYIT experts.