Let me put it this way as a game programmer who recently returned to University to get my degree. You DO NEED the degree to do anything remotely useful in game development.
Topics that you will need to know that only Univeristy can teach you are:
- 3D graphics (not how to use OpenGL or DX but the actual algorithms used)
- Multivariable calculus and differential equations (required for graphics and animation)
- Linear Algebra (required for graphics and animation)
- Data Structures (required in all programming)
I know the saying that you can learn anything on your own but in reality, it's not true unless you're Isaac Newton. The programming language the school uses to teach you is irrelevant as your concern should be the algorithms and how to implement them. So stay in school, study hard and apply what you learned a little at a time.