Mayor Eric Adams wants to make New York City a bigger player in the gaming industry.
Adams announced on Thursday a $2-million partnership with the City University of New York to establish a bachelor’s degree in digital game design.
The tech-savvy mayor said the program could reach more than 1,000 students over three years and will be housed at the City College of New York — as well as internships, mentorship, college events and eSports sponsorships.
“It’s time for us to lead in this industry of digital gaming space,” said Adams, who will enlist the help of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
“New York City is a leader in so many areas: tech, film, finance. So many different areas, we’re leaders — but not here yet. When it comes to gaming development, we are outside of the top five. We want to change that in the next few years. We want to be number one.”
City officials also announced a new Game Development Industry Council to advise policies and programs in the digital games sector — including 7,600 jobs, $762 million in wages, and $2 billion in economic output, according to the New York City Digital Games Industry Economic Impact Report.
The announcement came with lofty goals to diversify the digital games workforce, and in turn to have an impact on the city where players reside.
“We can almost treat gaming to help people who are dealing with dementia to remember things,” Adams told reporters at a press conference in Hamilton Heights.
“Gaming for people who want to learn financial literacy, how to buy a house, how to pay for college, gaming to deal with some of the hate crime we see in this city: anti-Asian violence, anti-Semitism, attacks on LGBTQ community,” Adams said. “There can be games as developed to teach us how to enjoy our diversity.”
The program was also billed as a college and career pathway for students from low-income families.
“I was a computer programmer as a young person,” said Adams. “I know how powerful it is, the skills you take forever.”
The City College of New York could also recruit from Hostos Community College, where students who were pursuing associates degrees in its digital games program could transition to a four-year degree.
“Young people in our communities, growing up in an environment where gaming and digital consumer skills are ubiquitous, are exquisitely prepared to make gaming a pathway to solid careers for themselves and supporting economic development for the city,” said Vincent Boudreau, president of City College, said in a statement.