Atari's Pong has just turned 50 but it's still not easy to understand where game design is studied: we have compiled a list of university courses active in Italy

The Game Industry is flourishing from every point of view and it makes more and more sense, for young people looking for what to study at University and passionate about video games and creativity, to consider a career like game designer.

Data from the video game industry

In Italy alone, when we talk about videogames we count on a market of 2 billion euros and 243 million euros in 2021 (+2.9% compared to the record numbers of the year of the lock-down, which was already growing by 23% on 2019).

The data from the Iidea video game industry trade association Observatory are clear.

Italian gamers are growing rapidly: 15.5 million in total (+35%) and they are not just men (8.7 million males, but as many as 6, 8 million females). On average, they spend almost 9 hours a week gaming. The sale of the latest generation consoles has increased by 21.6% and, one could imagine it, there are many who use home consoles (6.9 million people), especially the very young.

To get an idea of the interest, just think that Milan Games Week & Cartoomics 2022 of Fiera Milano was able to close this record edition with over 105 thousand tickets sold.

While a thrift platform like Wallapop recently unveiled research that suggests vintage video games are making a comeback - from January to November, they recorded +75% of searches on their site, they say - and over 6 million Italians use second-hand platforms to buy them.

This success is reflected in the employment side of the design sector: in May 2021, the latest data available, 59% of companies in the sector planned to hire new staff in the two-year period.

Why study Game Design

That's how when the going gets tough... game designers start studying. In Italy, Game Design courses have never been lacking in recent years, but what we have recently witnessed is the proliferation of both public and private courses on offer.

The goal is not only videogame design in the strict sense, but in general to understand the aesthetics and function of all the interactive and narrative dynamics, environmental and entertainment that are the basis of gamification. A technique also successfully used for e-commerce or for marketing campaigns on social media, just to name a few.

For this reason, all the courses are structured by touching on different areas, from the construction of the narration to the study of the game environment, but above all by giving ample space to visual communication, with its rules, techniques and technologies.

Everything is taught: from drawing to computer graphics, through robotics and immersive technologies, the use of Unity3D and Autodesk 3D Studio Max or other tools, film previsualization with Unreal Engine and Maya.

Where to study Game Design in Italy

An exhaustive list of courses available in Italy would never be possible, and after all not even the Ministry of Education and Merit and the Ministry of University and Research seem willing to provide one. But it is easy to find on the web more than one course now active in every Region, while Rome and Milan as usual stock up on opportunities.

Among the criteria on which to choose, the costs could certainly have some influence, as well as the study programme and the curricula of the students teachers, the possibility of internships and job placement, always taking into account the proposed qualification: certificate of attendance or specialization, Diploma, Degree or Master.

In fact, there are numerous Game Design courses conceived as post-diploma university training, but the professionalizing proposals in the Industrial Technical Institutes (ITIS) are also growing and, as is obvious in every thriving market, to flourish are mainly private initiatives.

Here we indicate a few, selected for you.

  • The Istitito Volta of Milan provides online lessons in direct with final certification at authorized Centers for his Game Design Course.
  • The Politecnico di Milano has long included the discipline within the School by Design.
  • And again in Milan the University Institute of Modern Languages IULM is holding a three-year Master's in Master of Arts in Game Design in English , which also includes Game Talks (seminars) and Game Project (application cases).
  • The New Academy of Fine Arts NABA in Milan is deals with Game Design within the Three-year Degree in Cinema and Animation and Game Development in the Three-year Degree in Creative Technologies.
  • And Rufa – Rome University of Fine Arts also offers a II level Academic Diploma in Multimedia Arts and Design.
  • In the Marches, the University of Camerino is relaunching its activity after the 2016 earthquake, also thanks to the activation of the new 1st level Master's in Game Design for the enhancement of territories and cultural heritage, promoted by the IT section of the School of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Ivipro Association - Italian Videogame Program.
  • While the Polytechnic University of the Marches of Ancona, with the degree course in Information Engineering for Videogames and Virtual Reality, promises to train experts also in the field of Experience and Game Design.
  • Always oriented towards programming, it will start in March at the University of Verona a 1st level annual master's degree in Computer Game Development, which includes advanced graphics and design courses in the study plan.
  • While in Brescia it is possible to attend the Accademia di Belle Arti Santa Giulia with its 1st level diploma in New Technology of the Art or II level in Digital Artistic Animator.
  • In Rome, the International School of Comics offers two courses: the biennial one of 360 hours in Videogame Programming and Design and the annual one in 3D Artist of 192 hours.
  • Also in the capital, the Quasar Institute for Advanced Design organizes a three-year post-diploma course in Interaction Design - Game Design major, as well as a 23-month Master's Degree in Game Design, which will start in March.
  • Finally, in Rome, but also frequently online, you can follow the annual course in 3D Graphics Concept Art & Animation for video games from the Vigamus Academy, starting March 27, 2023.
  • The Italian Videogame Academy is located in Rome and Milan, with its limited number of courses.
  • Also in Milan, the Sae Institute offers professional training certificates through its course bachelor's degree in Game Design or in Game Art.
  • Another limited number course is the Master of the Rainbow Academy in Rome, 9 months in starting from November next year for the certificate of attendance.
  • The three-year course, with compulsory attendance, is the course in Game and Videogame of the Mohole School starting October 9, 2023.
  • While in Florence, TheSign Comics & The Arts Academy has activated several three-year courses on the subject of Videogames: the three-year course in Game Design, the one in Game Programming, in Game Concept Art and again in 3D Game Art (Real Time Graphics), which the two-year Master of Illustration and Concept Art is added.
  • And also Rufa – Rome University of Fine Arts offers in Rome a 1st level Academic Diploma (three years) in Multimedia and Game Art and a 2nd level Academic Diploma (two years) in Multimedia Arts and Design