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UK games biz demands closer ties with academia
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Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:02 pm Reply and quote this post
UK videogame industry leaders have demanded greater ties betweenbusiness and academia to ensure that Britain's games developers remainglobally competitive. But will any of them step forward to foster therelationship?
At games industry conference the Westminster Media Forum, held inLondon this week, Mary Matthews, Strategy and Business DevelopmentDirector at game developer Blitz, said that ineffective training isholding the industry back.
“We can’t do what we want to do because we can’t find the right people,” she said.
Yet, acording to Kate O’Connor, Executive Director of Policy andDevelopment at Skillset, an industry body for skills and training, UKuniversities already offer 80 videogame-related degree courses. Nonehave any industry recognition, however.
Paul Harris, Professor of Screen Media at the University of Abertay,Dundee, agreed that accreditation by game design firms is crucial. Hesaid it is the best way for universities to ensure that students’skills match firms’ requirements.
Matthews also called for a similar frequent refreshment of the curriculum.
Matthews has other ideas too, such as recruiting potential gamedesigners from the age of 14. In her view, this would help kidsestablish much earlier a link between enjoying games and developingthem, thus steering more designers into the industry.

However, no one appears willing to take responsibility for theproposals. Instead, both industry and academia are hoping thegovernment will do the job for them.
Margaret Hodge, Minister for Culture, Creative Industries andTourism, said at the conference: “The games industry must do more toencourage students to choose the right qualifications [for videogamedesign], such as maths and physics.”
The government, she said, also has plans in the pipeline to createof centres of excellence for videogame development where gaming brainscould unite to develop the next smash hit.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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