Games industry leader to receive honorary doctorate

Immediate release

Friday 11 October 2013

The chief of one of the largest independent videogame developers in the world is to be recognised by Sheffield Hallam University for his role in kickstarting creative digital industries in South Yorkshire.

James North-Hearn, CEO of the Foundation 9 Entertainment Group, will receive an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam in November. James was previously development director of Gremlin (the Sheffield-based game developer), head of publishing for Infogrames, and a founding director of Sumo-Digital.

In his position at Foundation 9, James presides over the activities of Sumo-Digital, who regularly take on placement students from Sheffield Hallam and have many Sheffield Hallam alumni amongst their staff. Before the ceremony, James will visit the University's PlayStation 3 development lab and in-house game development studio, Steel Minions.

Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering and Sciences, said: "James is a key figure in South Yorkshire’s creative digital industries, and an internationally-recognised industry champion. He is a pioneer in the videogame industry, and used his background in electronic engineering to help construct development kits for some of the first game consoles.

"He was one of the founders of Sumo-Digital and now, as CEO of Foundation 9 Entertainment, he oversees one of the largest global game development companies, responsible for delivering very successful titles in some of the most exciting gaming franchises in the world.

"James rarely seeks the limelight, but his efforts over the years have contributed greatly to the game development legacy that we have here in Sheffield. So it is very fitting that he should receive this award from Sheffield Hallam University."

Notes for editors:

Foundation 9 is an entertainment media conglomerate which is one of the largest independent game developers in the world, and has more than 450 employees working in its various studios in California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Sheffield (Sumo-Digital) and Pune, India.

For press information: contact Joe Field in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2074 or email


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