UOC students have access to video games on the Steam platform
Photo: Pawel Kadysz / Flickr (CC)
Israel H. Ros

The UOC Virtual Library is providing students of the Game Design course, of the Master’s Degree in Video Game Design and Development, codes for the downloading and subsequent study of audiovisual products on Steam. This digital platform, created in 2003, currently has over 9 million regular users and is considered a leader in video games for PCs with 75% of the digital market, according to data from Bloomberg. The University is therefore committed to the video game as a learning tool.

Daniel Aranda, professor at the Faculty of Information and Communication Sciences, explains that this initiative is highly innovative in the university sphere since “it is not at all common for a university to offer games as learning tools for a course, and even less so within a platform”.

Antonio Jos Planells, Course Instructor at the Faculty of Computer Science, Multimedia and Telecommunications, explains that this initiative has been warmly welcomed among students and has resulted in situations that have surprised him: “The most noteworthy case is the video game Guild Wars, in which the students have organized themselves in an autonomous way in order to overcome the challenges through cooperation. This cooperation came about spontaneously, without the involvement of the professor”, he says.

The Game Design course aims to train the future creators of video games by giving them different perspectives of the theoretical and conceptual bases that shape academic studies of video games combined with game design practice. The aim is for students to understand the e-sports phenomenon, the main characteristics of emotional design and the configuration of rules in a fictional leisure environment. “Not only do they need to know the main rules and norms of games, but how to integrate them on a conceptual and design level in a product that has a specific target market and consumption”, Aranda adds.

The main titles the students have to know and play are:

Video games as an educational tool

Nowadays, video games are a major economic and cultural force in society. According to a study by Newzoo (Games Market Research), in 2013 the video game industry made a turnover of 75.5 billion dollars worldwide, and is forecast to make a turnover of 102.9 billion in 2017.

However, video games are also a learning tool. The UOC professor, Aranda, considers that “there is little information addressed at teachers, trainers and educators that put the significance of video games into context. Hence, a literacy campaign is required to promote the integration of video games as a tool that stimulates an interest in the digital world, in programming and in the intellectual and creative skills of users."

This researcher points out that “it is important to see the video game as a learning tool: learning things is a key requirement in order to play a video game”. Aranda says that “video games encourage learning in which the player is seduced by trying to overcome a problem, by dedicating a certain amount of effort and finally by achieving a significant success”.

63.7% of regular players have upper secondary school or university studies, according to a study by the Spanish Video Game Association (AEVI).



Photograph of Daniel Aranda Jurez

Daniel Aranda Jurez

Expert in: The Internet; social uses of technology; youth and video games.

Knowledge area: Audiovisual communication.

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