Students Get Scholarships to Study Video Games at NYU

Parents who scold their children for spending too much time playing video games may want to consider encouraging them -- at least sometimes -- instead.

This September, New York University is launching a bachelor's degree program for video game aficionados and will offer scholarship money to help pay tuition. One of the scholarship programs is designed specifically to attract young women to the study of game design.

The college already has a master's program for gamers. Tony Kao, who left his job as a graphic designer to go back to school, got a $25,000 scholarship to work toward his master's of fine arts degree in game design at NYU.

In the program, he's not just studying games, but the psychology behind players' choices and tactics.

"A lot of people have a misconception that gaming separates people and it makes you unsocial, but I believe that it does the opposite, that it brings people together," Kao said. "Parents need to start thinking of games as something that's enriching people rather than thinking it's something that's negative."

Kao's scholarship is funded through the Evo, the Evolution Championship Series, which bills itself as the largest and longest-running fighting game tournament in the world and has been held annually for the last decade.

Frank Lantz, director of NYU’s Game Center, a division of Tisch School of the Arts, called fighting games "fascinating." He said they're more akin to high intelligence, strategy-driven games like poker and chess than they are similar to typical video games -- and that the school wants more talented, passionate students like Kao to create new ones.

But not every candidate can go to graduate school, Lantz said, which is partly why NYU is launching the bachelor's degree program for gamers.

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