Students interested in learning how to develop computer and video games for a living could find a home at the University of New Orleans.

The university announced Thursday that its Department of Computer Science will begin offering a new concentration in game development effective immediately.

A 2011 study by market research company, the NPD Group, found that video game sales in the U.S. reached $8.8 billion, while sales of computer games reached $450 million.

The game development concentration has the potential to become a recruiting tool for the research university, Computer Science Chair Mahdi Abdelguerfi said in a prepared statement.

“The pervasiveness of computer gaming on personal computers, game consoles and handheld devices has generated significant student interest and job opportunities after graduation,” Abdelguerfi said.

A school news release says UNO’s Computer Science Department will offer both introductory and advanced courses in game development and mobile application programming.

Those courses taken together with classes in computer graphics and programming form the foundation of a new concentration aimed at preparing students for productive careers in game development, Abdelguerfi said.

“With the presence of Touch Studios, Gameloft and Red Ticket Games in New Orleans and Electronic Arts in Baton Rouge, game development promises to be a significant industry in the Silicon Bayou of southeastern Louisiana,” Abdelguerfi said.