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UK Universities Establish First "Game Academy"

| 12 Jul 2007 19:55
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Three universities in the U.K. have collaborated with top game developers to create the Game Republic Academy, the country's first training program dedicated to videogames.

The program involves the University of Bradford, the University of Hull and Sheffield Hallam University, along with industry leaders including Rockstar, Team17 and Sumo. Companies affiliated with the program will employ students during summers, giving them access to their equipment and development experience to complete their final year projects.

Peter Cowling, professor of computer science at the University of Bradford, said, "We are delighted to be one of the three leading universities in the U.K. providing videogame courses now in collaboration with the Game Republic Academy."

"We are exceptionally placed to offer students the kind of training the industry is crying out for," he continued. "With high profile industry figures pointing towards AI (Artificial Intelligence) as the next big thing for commercial games, we are able to offer our new AI for Games Masters programme - the first of its kind in the world."

Shaun Woodward, U.K Creative Industries Minister, had earlier called for the establishment of game academies in the U.K., saying last week that videogames are a hugely important part of the economy and that such training centers would attract the talent necessary to maintain the country's status as the largest development community in Europe.

The videogame industry has expressed concern recently over the lack of suitably trained graduates coming out of current computer game courses. The Game Republic Academy will provide up to £3000 of sponsorship per student, helping offset the high cost of a Masters-level degree that many now consider vital for a successful entry into the industry, and will also work closely with the industry to ensure appropriate knowledge and skills are being taught.

"We are very pleased to be involved in the Game Republic Academy and are particularly pleased to have the support and backing of the games industry," said University of Hull Director of Games Studies Jonathan Purdy. "This collaboration should ensure that the brightest talent is given the training and resources required to pursue a career in the computer games industry."

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