University Offers New Gaming, Interactive Design Major Online


A young man plays a game on his PC.The University will launch an online gaming and interactive design major this fall for students who want to pursue careers in the growing fields of e-sports, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

Gaming is a multibillion-dollar trade and one of the fastest-growing sectors of the multimedia industry, said Don Piper, professor of sports broadcasting. GlobalData, a data analytics and consulting company, reported that the video games market could become a $300 billion industry by 2025.

With professional sports seasons indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19 concerns, e-sports have taken off, Piper said. NASCAR, for example, launched a racing series using online simulation. The first race at Homestead-Miami Speedway attracted 903,000 viewers on FOX Sports. The second at Texas Motor Speedway attracted 1.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

“Right now, because we have a lack of live sports, the e-sports industry has really taken a step forward,” Piper said. “There’s a huge market for this.”

The interactive design element of the major branches into augmented reality, Piper said. Sports stadiums use augmented reality to give fans an experience they wouldn’t get by watching live or in a broadcast.

“Rather than limit it to creating games, we wanted to keep the opportunities open as augmented reality and artificial intelligence starts to develop,” Piper said. “We could move into those areas as well.”

The new program is a natural tie-in for the University, which already has a strong sports broadcasting program, he said.

The 120-credit hour gaming and interactive design major is offered entirely online. It complements existing majors in communication, cinema arts and journalism – all of which further the School of Communication & Media’s mission of redemptive storytelling, Piper said.

“Gaming is about solving the story,” Piper said. “Hopefully in a covert way, we can tell redemptive stories that play out as an interactive game.”

Click here to request information or apply for the program.