Europe’s Largest PlayStation Teaching Lab Opens At Abertay University

Abertay - centre for excellenceScotland is an awesome place to study game design, development and production.  The country boasts four universities producing games graduates, along with two schools of art and seven colleges offering game development HNC and HNDs.

The pioneer in Scotland’s academic landscape is Dundee’s Abertay university, which created the world’s first Computer Games degree, the Dare to be Digital competition and which has a global reputation within the interactive industry.

Abertay’s reputation and capabilities have just multiplied, with the news that Europe’s largest teaching laboratory of Sony PlayStation consoles opened in the university’s Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.

PlayStation_Lab_ARAbertay’s PlayStation Lab has now permanently installed 30 new PlayStation Vita development kits alongside the university’s existing PlayStation3 and PlayStation4 development kits.

Every programming student at Abertay will now have access to and learn how to use PlayStation Vita and PlayStation4 development kits

The new lab is part of Abertay University’s partnership with PlayStation First, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s (SCEE) Academic Development Programme.  This programme offers development kits to universities identical to those used by professional game studios.

PlayStation_Lab_ARDr Maria Stukoff, Head of Academic Development at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told us:

The next generation of PlayStation-savvy developers are now in education and Abertay University is at the forefront of bringing young and talented developers to our platform. It is these students who will influence the future of video games and we are delighted to work with Abertay University to make this a PlayStation training hub.

Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, agreed:

Abertay is very proud to have the largest teaching laboratory of PlayStation consoles in Europe, and it’s something our students benefit hugely from. Having access to professional Sony development kits is incredibly exciting for students learning how to design and build games, and we’ve seen a real jump in the enthusiasm of our students since we created this lab. Students are routinely staying after class to work on their own projects, with many immediately aspiring to releasing their own games for PlayStation.

All undergraduate students at Abertay University take part in a major third-year project, working with professional mentors, to build a game. Student artists, designers, programmers and audio engineers are brought together, exactly as if they were running a small business.

PlayStation_Lab_ARAs part of the PlayStation lab, two student teams totalling 22 people have been working with FuturLab co-founders James Marsden and Kirsty Rigden. One team is building on FuturLab’s successful Velocity series of games with another pitching a completely new idea to the company.

James Marsden, FuturLab co-founder, said:

We think this initiative is fantastic. It’s great for us because we’re able to effectively triple our workforce developing new prototypes, and it’s great for students because they get valuable experience working as a project team all the way from concept development and pitching, through to a playable demo suitable for pitching to a publisher.

This is a huge coup for Abertay – and for Scotland.  Congratulations to the team at the institute for arts, media and video games and the university as a whole.

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