CHANNEL 4 AND MICROSOFT JOIN FORCES FOR X48 A TWO-GAME CAMP TO FIND NEW GAMING TALENT

On Friday 20 March 2009 80 budding videogame design and development students from all over the UK will relocate to the University of Derby’s cutting edge Computer Games Lab for X48– a two-day intensive development session dedicated to gaming.

Using Microsoft’s XNA Game Studio 3.0, X48 will offer the student teams an unprecedented opportunity to be mentored by and have their work reviewed by computer giant Microsoft and UK broadcaster Channel 4– key sponsors of the two-day game camp produced by Pixel-Lab.

The event will be themed to challenge the students to develop games that look beyond the traditional puzzle or first person shooter in a bid to create new conversations around gaming and attract the attention of new audiences. And to ensure the teams do not prepare in advance, they will not be given the theme for their game prototypes until the opening session on Friday morning.

Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor for Education at Channel 4:“Channel 4 Education is excited to be sponsoring X48. We're fully behind encouraging collaboration and competition between young and emerging British indie gaming talent, and fully approve of the freewheelin' creative environment that X48 is going to produce. We'll be setting the theme of the challenge, and keeping an eye out for both talent and games that we can continue to support or develop post-event.”

Andrew Sithers, Academic Lead at Microsoft UK:“X48 is a great opportunity to bring like-minded students together and inspire them to create games using XNA Game Studio. Partnering with Channel 4 and the University of Derby brings together technology, creativity and talent at an event that will pit the UK’s best student game developers against the clock.”

“The UK is seen as a hotbed of talent in game design, and X48 will be a testament to that, giving students not only the chance to talk to commissioners but also create a game that may make it to market” said Toby Barnes, Managing Director at Pixel-Lab.

John Sear, Programme Leader in Computer Games Programming at the University of Derby: "It's a huge honour for the University of Derby to be collaborating with Microsoft UK again. It shows the standing we have nationally in the area of computer games education.”

University of Derby is hosting the game camp and will not only provide the hardware and software needed to develop the games at their Kedleston Road site, but will also provide food and accommodation.

“Our labs are designed around working in a real world game studio and are the ideal environment for students to be productive and creative in. I'm sure the teams will produce some fantastic games over the weekend."

The event is sold-out, but students, indie developers, game enthusiasts and the general public alike will still be able to take part. Video sites YouTube and Vimeo, along with microblogging service Twitter, will provide a window into the university for a global audience to really feel what it’s like to develop a new game in such a short time. Post-event, the playable versions of the X48 games will be made available for download at x48gamecamp.com where anyone can try them out and add give the teams valuable feedback.

Press contact: Rebecca Ladbury / rebecca.Ladbury@virgin.net / 07941 224 975

Press contact: Richard Birkin Richard.birkin@pixel-lab.co.uk / 07973480098 / Twitter: x48

Press contact: Sean Kirby, University of Derby 01332 593004 / 07876 476103 / s.kirby@derby.ac.uk

Website: www.x48gamecamp.com

Logos and images for press use: www.x48gamecamp.com/press-resources

Notes to editors

About XNA

XNA helps game developers at every level, including students, hobbyists and professional, access the largest installed base by providing professional-quality tools, support and solutions that can be used across Microsoft gaming platforms. More information can be found at creators.xna.com

About University of Derby

The University of Derby is a thriving institution inspired by a dedication to quality and opportunity. It is an innovator in flexible modular study and e-learning solutions tailoring programmes to students’ needs. The University is home to a diverse community of over 20,000 students from the UK and overseas. Subjects offered to students include a wide range of disciplines in Arts, Design and Technology; Business, Computing and Law; and Education, Health and Sciences, all leaders in their field. The University of Derby Students’ Union, a number of research centres and academic schools, including The Derbyshire Business School, are all based at the Kedleston Road site. Facilities include our new£1.5m Clinical Skills Suite and a pioneering computer games development suite.

The UK’s first dedicated site for arts, design and technology was opened by Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, in autumn 2007. It forms just one part of a£55m estates investment strategy that is creating a University Quarter for Derby, building on the success of our multiple award winning£23m campus in the Peak District spa town of Buxton. The Devonshire Campus at Buxton is the result of five years of careful restoration. Teaching there commenced in September 2005 and the Devonshire was opened officially by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall in February 2006. The building's centrepiece is a magnificent Dome, larger than St Paul's in London– its facilities are among the finest in Europe.

All our schools and faculties enjoy links with household names such as Rolls-Royce and Toyota. The University Quarter in Derby incorporates sites at Kedleston Road, Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill to the west of Derby city centre. Derby achieved University status in 1992. In 2006 it won an‘Improving Working Lives’ award sponsored by the Times Higher Education Supplement. Professor John Coyne has been the University’s Vice-Chancellor since the summer of 2004.

About Channel 4

“Channel 4 Education broke new ground in 2008 by moving its television spend online: its budget of£6m was spent with British indie talent, in producing video, websites, services and games for 14-19 year olds, including the BAFTA-winning Bow Street Runner. 2009 has started with Routes ( www.routesgame.com) and a number of web, PC and cross-platform games soon to follow. Channel 4 Education aims to grow and support UK-based indie gaming talent in producing highly entertaining games and other services that have, at their heart, something fascinating to learn from,” www.channel4.com

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. www.microsoft.com

About Pixel-Lab

X48 is produced by Pixel-Lab, a computer games and digital media development agency working across the UK’s computer game and digital media industries. Pixel-Lab advises, develops and delivers strategies to support growth in the games industry from skills development to support infrastructure. Pixel-Lab also works with organisations outside the industry, enabling them to harness the power of play. Pixel-Lab are developing a number of new programmes that put innovation and talent development at the heart of the game development process.

www.pixel-lab.co.uk


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