Lots of great points have already been made, but I think that one of the keys is asking yourself "Do I know anything about programming, the software life cycle, leadership and running a business or do I just have some raw talent that I want to develop?"
The flat answer is yes, there is a ton of money to be realized in game development, iirc the industry had higher gross sales than the motion picture industry last year. The question always becomes "how" to a achieve income in a stable way that lets you plan for the future... when I was 19 living pay cheque to pay cheque was fine, when the cash came in, the bills got paid. Now, that kind of stress would be a serious problem.
Some advice based on my own experience and opinions goes something like this:
- if you've never completed a major progrmaming project, do that first.
- don't quit your day job until the money is rolling in stably enough to support yourself... if you're determined to achieve success there are always enough hours in the day to make progress on a project, be it ever so small. Time management (and setting priorities) is a skill that can help you life long in many areas.
- university can help you understand the concepts in a very detailed way, but college will get you up and coding faster: there's nothing wrong with either
- write and release a game, and get a better feel for what's actually involved... a lot of people I've known over the years could write interesting games, story lines etc but absolutely failed when it came to customer support and software updates
- examine your skill set and recognize that you probably don't have all the skills to do it all yourself. For early projects though, it's quite acceptable for your product to have less than the professional finish... many of my sound effects were recorded at opportune times with my phone and polished up a bit at home -- don't be afraid to accept less than perfect if it means completion, you can always revise the sounds/graphics/etc later when you have a better budget to hire someone who knows what they're doing (or you've learned how to do it better)
- if you don't want to work 60 hrs/wk, don't. There are lots of programming positions in the world that will give you an good income and leave you with free time. If they don't exist in the game dev world, indie is always an option.
- Working more is not working better... the guys I know who work 60+ hours fall into 2 categories: insanely talented and committed and will end up quitting and working for themselves because they have the skills to pay the bills ... and finally the facebookers.... these are the guys who are at work 60 hours but only really work about 30... between distractions, coffee breaks, the new iphone app that you gotta see, etc etc etc.
Anyways, meeting's starting and I don't want to be here for 60 hours :-) Hope there's something of value in here for you.