Hi SinanDira, you wrote:
1. What is degree's long-term effect on a career?
2. I have considered taking a degree in one of game design, game art, animation or interactive multimedia; most of which contain technical aspects (mostly programming) in addition to art.
3. But then I came to the realization that independent work doesn't actually require one!
4. I am not quite sure on the decisions that I am going to take later in life.
5. Let's say that I want to get employed after 4 years of independent game development with at least 1 project. Could the loss of a degree or professional certification lower my chances with the majority of big game firms?
6. What about a second project and >5 years of experience?
7. Despite the entry level gains at a firm, if I decide to stick to employment there and advance to higher positions, could the loss of academic education (while still having the industrial experience, of course) hinder my advancement or relatively lower my gains?
8. does my education even show up and have any importance when I actually am independent, but want to offer my studio's services to a customer or to cooperate with a bigger game development firm?
1. In general, it means you'll make more money over your lifetime.
2. I don't necessarily recommend those degrees. Read http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson34.htm
4. Exactly! Not getting the degree could have a negative impact, should you later decide to go for a job.
5. With only one project in your portfolio: yes.
6. Your chances improve a little, then. Only two projects and less than 5 years? That's not very good.