Dyson Reckons Video Games Development Sucks Up Too Much Talent

Sir James Dyson (of brilliantly effective but staggeringly expensive vacuum cleaner and fan fame) is worried that the UK physical engineering scene is dying, thanks to the "glamour" of video games development.

The Radio Times (the UK publication, and yes, for historical reasons it's still called The Radio Times) reports on an interview with Dyson in which he warns of a shortfall within the UK of around 60,000 engineering graduates. The reason why the UK engineering scene is lagging? According to Dyson, it's because

"the glamour of web fads and video gaming" was being put ahead of "tangible technology that we can export".

Dyson's an intelligent chap who does a reasonable amount to foster engineering innovation — the most obvious example being the James Dyson award, which has been won two years running by Aussie inventors.

Still, I'm having a hard time equating "video games development" with "glamorous" in most real senses; it's hard to know if he's talking about the initial lure — getting into games development because you love games — or the often hard reality of actual code manipulation or art design. [BBC via GamesIndustry]


    I'm pretty sure that they can export video games just as easily as vacuum cleaners.

      True - but videogames don't provide manufacturing jobs i.e. jobs for the unskilled.

        True, but then Dyson doesn't actually do its manufacturing in the UK from what I understand. His pitch is more about skilled engineers, not unskilled labour.

          My bad - for some reason I just assumed he did at least some of the manufacturing there.

        Yes, they do for the unskilled. They are called web developers and they look after a development studio's website. Oh SNAP!

        Sorry @braaains

          Haha very funny, Johnny.

          You mum says hi, btw :P

    I'm a software engineer who got into it because of games, but I'd love to have physical engineering skills. I'm still dreaming of a day where something like Real Steel or Angelic Layer are a reality.

    ..... Because the world really needs major advances in vacuum cleaning technology? Maybe someday i should get around to replacing my trusty broom....

    EDIT: maybe Dyson could start adding DLC to their vacuums? Extra rooms to clean! New vacuum skins! And funny hats!

    Last edited 11/01/13 10:27 am

      you seen the bladeless fans scruffy? pretty damn innovative!

        Pretty damn expensive too, considering it does pretty much what a normal fan (one with blades) does for 5 times the cost. It seems more like some kind of status symbol than anything else.

        Can you speak into them and sound like a robot though?

    Yet another person shitting on videogames, life goes on

    Software Engineering != Physical Engineering. If there's a decline in Engineering graduates it's not because they'd rather make games, it's because the courses are usually five years long, expensive, involve insane workloads and often fairly hard to get a decent job at the end of it anyway because the work just gets outsourced.

      Well it kind of does. The degrees are very similar. They both are mathematics heavy. It's just that with software engineering degrees you tend to do more computer related courses, whereas with physical engineering courses you do all that fluid dynamics wah-wah. You still have an option to do those courses as part of a software engineering degree and there is huge overlap between the requirements of say a civil engineering degree and a mathematics & computer sciences degree.

      We have people working here that were trained as mechanical & civil engineers but now work as software engineers. They did a similar amount of software engineering courses as I did, just less mathematics.

        I did computer science personally, and I found that in a lot of cases the engineers that did software stuff on the side didn't really put much effort into it relative to the actual software engineers. And given that 90% of the SE and CompSci students were awful at programming, that's scary.

        Also I would argue that while a garden-variety engineer can probably work on software, I wouldn't trust a software engineer to work on bridges or the like (I am a Software Engineer by title, but I wouldn't trust a bridge I'd designed at all!). SE is attempting to apply Engineering practices to software, but they aren't really Engineers.

      Engineering degrees are four years. Job availability is going to depend on which field you choose and where you live.

        Could have sworn the engineers I knew when I was at University were doing five year courses and not four. Honours year?

          I did a four year engineering degree here, honours (compulsory) was completed alongside coursework in final year. I did science as well though (as many engineering students do) which pushed it to a five-year program.

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