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PlayStationFirst opens Europe’s largest teaching lab at Abertay University

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The PlayStation lab has now permanently installed PlayStation Vita development kits alongside their existing PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 dev kits.

Every programming student at Abertay has access to the development kits as part of Abertay University’s partnership with PlayStationFirst, Sony’s Academic Development Programme. The programme offers development kits to universities identical to those used by professional game studios to create games for PlayStation.

Dr Maria Stukoff, Head of Academic Development at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said: “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, said: “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 to build a game, working with professional mentors. Student artists, designers, programmers and audio engineers are brought together, exactly as if they were running a small business.

As 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.”

Thomas Garnerone, Abertay student game designer, said: “The PlayStation Vita is an interesting platform as it is a very powerful handheld game console. By combining regular buttons and new features such as the touch screen, the console offers a new gameplay experience to players.

“As a student in game design, I really like the fact that players can discover new ways to play video games.”

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