And networked environment to be even more central to games courses

Skillset: Next-gen will be about social, not graphics

Creative Skillset has said games in the coming generation, and the platforms that support them, will be more about social interaction and less about graphics.

The accreditation body, which recognises UK course that best prepare studies for work in the creative industries, also suggests that students studying for programming careers in the games industry will need to have a better understanding of networks and analytics, as entertainment hardware continues to converge.

Speaking to Develop, Creative Skillset’s head of development Saint John Walker said: “Higher Education games courses will increasingly have to deal with cross-platform skills and convergence. Today’s students need a greater knowledge of user experience and the affordances of games analytics.

“HE courses will always need to teach students transferable programming skills. In terms of the programming language, C++ will remain key. If the new PS4 does make it easier to develop, as claimed, then that’ll mean more students will choose it. But, as opposed to the current-gen where the obsession was with graphics, this time it may well be about the social aspect of such connectivity. More users sharing gameplay makes for rich new possibilities.”

Walker’s comments stem from the fascination with games such as Heavy Rain and LA Noire, where a desire for more lifelike characters and greater resolution became something of a fixation.

And Walker is not alone in his thinking. Andy Thomason, lecturer in computer science at Goldsmiths College, predicts that network aspects will be key for those on games courses.

“If you can make something fairly quickly, you can prototype it and put it up on PlayStation Network, and that thing can be seen by many people, and that’s going to be a good route into games development for aspiring games developers,” he says.

Walker and Thomason spoke to Develop about how next generation hardware will affect games education in the latest issue of the magazine.

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