UK Game Industry Aims to Ensure Relevance With Accreditation Program

The trade group TIGA is offering seals of approval to university classes that can prove that their lessons apply to real-world videogame development.

Considering the complexity of many videogames, it can be difficult for students to know whether what they’re learning in school matches the skills they’ll actually need to become developers.

In the United Kingdom, a leading game-industry trade group is putting its own seal of approval on schools that are doing it right.

TIGA (The Independent Game Developers’ Association), an organization that represents the U.K. games industry, announced last week that it is launching a new accreditation program that’s designed to assist students who want to make sure they’re taking courses that will teach them the right concepts and industry professionals who are looking for highly skilled graduates.

“The TIGA accreditation system accredits the very best undergraduate and postgraduate university courses, enabling both prospective students and game developers to identify those courses that are producing industry-ready graduates,” the association said in a news release.

Under the program, which has been in development since 2010, industry and academic officials assess whether a course is providing the right level of games-industry expertise, along with soft skills, such as communication and problem solving. The accreditation process will also consider a real-world metric, the percentage of students who get jobs in the games business or in related fields after graduation, to determine whether the lessons are effective.

University professors whose classes have been accredited say the program has been reassuring.

“TIGA accreditation of the two games courses at the University of Portsmouth has reinforced our confidence in their industry relevance,” Mark Eyles, Ph.D., said in the news release. “This is a clear demonstration for our current, and future, students that our courses are of the highest quality.”

Eyles added that the accreditation team “was able to make insightful and helpful suggestions” to improve the university’s courses.

a complementary program

The initiative is similar to that of a broader U.K. group, Creative Skillset, which accredits classes in other programs beyond gaming. But an official with ties to both groups told Develop Magazine that the goal of TIGA’s program is not to steal anyone’s thunder.

“The TIGA accreditation system is designed to complement rather than compete with Creative Skillset; it is about offering universities and colleges more support and guidance from the games industry,” Chris Kingsley, deputy chairman of Creative Skillset’s Games Skills Council, told the magazine. Kingsley, cofounder and chief technical officer of the games studio Rebellion, is also a TIGA board member and the chairman of the group’s education committee.

He added that TIGA’s new program aims to “strengthen the links between industry and academia, promote best practice, and highlight excellence.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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