I have nothing but personal experience to back myself up, but that experience has recurred many times. I already mentioned 3 experiences with people who pursued education over practice and the results were obvious.
So why do I advise against degrees?
Part of it is due to my own lack there-of. I didn’t need one, so why should anyone else?
The other part is because I have had to interview people and I usually pass those with degrees. And then they usually request too much and the CEO’s don’t accept. The CEO of my first job said the same thing.
There is always some chance anywhere at getting a job.
My personal experiences don’t always represent the norm., but I feel they might represent the majority and you should pay attention.
L., I have a lot of respect for what you've accomplished, managing to get a game job in Japan, and without a degree. It's impressive.
But this is a rehash of a discussion I had here about a year ago (maybe more) with a guy in the UK. He swore up and down that nobody (but NOBODY) in the UK game industry cares about degrees. For all I know, he was right (but if so, why are there schools in the UK that teach computer science for games). For all I know, Japanese game hirers also doesn't care about degrees. For all I know, in Japan and the UK, people don't need degrees to break into the game industry as programmers. I can only speak for my own experience in the game industry (going back to 1982). Having interviewed and handled incoming resumes in this country, I can say definitively that someone without any game experience had better at least have a degree, if he wants to get hired here as an entry-level programmer. There may be those technical directors who'll be able to find an unschooled gem in a stack of twenty resumes, sure.
It's not doing anyone in the US a favor to say "you don't need no stinking degree." It's also not doing them a favor to say "you need an expensive for-profit school degree." There are many shades of gray in between.