Who is doing the hard work, and who is swooping in at the last minute to enjoy the ill-gotten fruit of another's labor? Here's a little snippet from University of Wales, Newport's description of the Computer Games Design - BA (Honors) degree:
When you graduate from the course you are fully prepared as a creative practitioner who can really make a difference. Roles range from the traditional art positions of character and environment design concept to model, rigging and animation to level design and project management for computer games design.
Frankly, that looks very much like the university is suggesting that students will come out of the program ready for a career; one where the student can make a difference, develop games independently, etc. Academia is trying to sell students on degrees for the marketable, useful skills imparted over the course of earning the degree, and then refusing to be accountable to either the industries targeted, or the graduated student who discovers too late that they are not actually prepared for a job.
The other funny thing about this rant is the disconnect between the criticisms he perceives as being leveled at games education ("By turns it’s either too many or too few games, not enough programming, etc") and his defense (arguing that academia is not about "fitting the loyalty chips in the necks of serfs bound for indentured servitude at the nearest Triple-A studio")1. Are the only people criticizing game development curricula at those AAA studios? Is that really their main interest in game development programs? Or is there actually a disconnect between the education offered in these programs, the promises they make, and the students coming out?
The group of people in this scenario that seem to have no accountability - that try to avoid taking responsibility for their actions - are the universities. The students certainly pay their way, the game developers are left still struggling to find, develop, or explain how someone embarks on this career path and develops along it... but the universities, well, they've got tuition and they've got another batch of students and if anyone says "you treated that last batch of students wrong" - the response is
We aren’t training sweatshops. We don’t teach skills, we teach people. Now bog off and let us do our job!
1. I'm being a bit loose with the quote; however, I think I'm accurately portraying his stance in the article, and it's really the best imagery in the article.