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Academics generate research that often benefits the commercial industry long-term. Unfortunately, game academics are poorly supported by institutions which have not adapted to game studies as a hands-on, creative field. (---More below)
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Successful high tech industries are supported by a robust academic community... but not the game industry. Academics do research that would be hard to justify in a corporate setting because it lacks immediate profit, but which often proves valuable longterm. Ian Horswill of Northwestern University summed up the problem well by comparing his experience as a robotics professor to his experience as a games professor. Robotics transitioned from being a field about essays and books to being a field about hands-on engineering, making it one of several fields that game studies could learn to emulate since it currently also focuses on academic articles to the exclusion of practical game creation. Academic articles absolutely have value, but that value is often lost since there aren't dedicated journals of game studies which provide a unified destination for interesting research about games. We also need awards for academic games and academic guilds which help review peer work and give universities a way to evaluate teaching candidates. Ultimately, the reward programs currently in place for game studies need to be overhauled in favor of systems that not only reward game development but also increase the quality and reach of the articles and research already being done.
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