A North East college has linked up with one of the world’s most high-profile and successful gaming brands to help develop the next generation of digital pioneers.
Sunderland College is now part of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s global academic programme PlayStation®First.
It is the first further education provider in the region and only the second in the country to become a member of the worldwide initiative.
Designed to inspire and encourage the new wave of developers to create games across all PlayStation platforms, the programme opens up a whole host of opportunities for member universities and colleges.
Through PlayStation First, students on the NextGen level 3 diploma course at Sunderland College can access PlayStation development tools, guidance and support. This means that students get to use the same hardware that game studios around the world are using to create ground-breaking, innovative games on PlayStation.
Mike Jaques, the college’s curriculum leader for digital design, said: “As part of the process to become an education partner, we had to convince Sony Interactive Entertainment that we had the right approach to game development, so it’s incredibly rewarding that such an established brand has recognised the talents of our students. We’re honoured to collaborate with a global leader in games development and publishing and to become part of this innovative programme which opens up a range of unparalleled opportunities for our students.”
Thanks to this new partnership, the students will have an opportunity to develop and publish games on PlayStation for gamers around the world to access.
And they are already busy developing a game which they plan to release in 2019.
Mike added: “There are 105 students working on our first PlayStation project – a 3D puzzle game based in an environment which has been entirely created and designed by the group. It’s fantastic to see the level of creativity and skill that they are harnessing in order to fulfil their ambitions of publishing a commercial game. These are 16 and 17-year-olds who are already acquiring commercial experience and are working with industry-standard software and equipment, using the knowledge they have gained on their course. It is such an exciting opportunity for them, and they will reap the benefits in the future when they look to begin their careers in the industry.”
“At PlayStation, we want to inspire the next generation,” said Luke Savage, senior academic development manager at Sony Interactive Entertainment. “The games industry needs new talent. It needs new perspectives, individuals who can push the boundaries and bring us new, innovative experiences.
“That’s why we’re excited to have Sunderland College join PlayStation First. I can’t wait to see what the students come up with.”
Sunderland College already has strong links with the digital industry and delivers a sector-focused games design, animation and VFX programme in partnership with NextGen Skills Academy.
More than 200 students are enrolled on this pioneering level 3 diploma – equivalent to three A-Levels -which has been developed by a number of prominent companies including Double Negative, Framestore, Ubisoft Reflections and Microsoft.
It is through this relationship that the college applied to the PlayStation First programme, and the partnership with NextGen Skills Academy has also opened up countless opportunities for students including industry internships, masterclasses and the chance to exhibit at national gaming events.