David Braben has issued a stark warning on the future of the UK game industry.
Speaking at today's Westminster eForum, Braben said it was “looking very likely that this year [Britain] will be sixth in the world,” referring to the international game development league that Britain has in recent years sunk down from third to fifth.
Braben said that the UK’s development sector is still shrinking, with a growing number of British senior designers moving abroad. Adding to the problems, he said, is that there’s a diminished drive of new talent from academia.
“The number of people studying computer science in the UK has fallen dramatically,” he said, presenting a slide which showed a deep decline in computer science enrollment since 2001. “And it has had a huge effect on universities, which have tried to dumb-down courses to attract more people.”
He later clarified that his main criticism of university game courses is how they often promise students a chance to get into the industry without actually equipping them of the necessary skills.
The key problem, Braben theorised, was that students found ICT to be the dullest subject at school. Extraordinarily dull, considering the subject matter has such potential to be fun, he suggested.
“That’s the thing, we’ve got a problem finding people skilled, and motivated.”
Braben called for Computer science to be taught at schools, adding that “there is a huge opportunity for Britain to lead the world in game development.”