Sony's Macdonald calls for educational Centres of Excellence

Sony's Macdonald calls for educational Centres of Excellence
Michael French

By Michael French

June 18th 2008 at 3:15PM

Lobbying from SCE WWS VP comes as Games Up campaign says 95 per cent of games degrees 'not fit for purpose'

The Games Up media lobbying continues to ram home the message to media and politicians that the games industry is demanding better support from the Government - and having already started a crusade for a games industry tax breaks, the campaign has turned up the heat on education.

Sony Worldwide Studios VP Jamie Macdonald, one of the members of the advisory board for the campaign, has said the industry needs 'Centres of Excellence' that would prepare graduates for jobs in the industry, something akin to the London Film School.

Said Macdonald: "We want to work with government to help equip our graduates with the skills they need to thrive in one of the most dynamic and profitable industries in the world."

His comments come in a new report on the BBC alongside other Games Up advisors.

David Braben, chairman of Frontier Developments has claimed that "95 per cent of video gaming degrees are simply not fit for purpose".

The rallying cry comes as part of the Games Up campaign and as UK developers continue to call for more and better staff as current courses fail to provide the education students looking to move into games really need - and as attendance figures for core skills like maths and physics falls.

"Without some sort of common standard, like Skillset accreditation, these degrees are a waste of time for all concerned," added Braben.

"We are facing a serious decline in the quality of graduates looking to enter the industry. The death of maths, physics and computer science graduates is hitting us hard."

Speaking in the latest issue of Develop - which includes an exclusive editorial on the Games Up campaign by its organisers; find out how to read the issue here - Macdonald explained why the industry should have better educational support.

He said: "“In recent years, the industry could have grown so much faster if we had access to larger numbers of better trained recruits. It’s vital that we tackle the skills shortage to preserve our ability to make global hit games. We back the Government’s call for Centres of Excellence for video games and more Skillset accredited courses in universities which would help ensure that the British industry can continue to create a new generation of world-class games creators.”­