Europe’s largest teaching laboratory with access to PlayStation development kits has been opened today at Abertay University in Dundee.
Abertay’s has now permanently installed 30 new PlayStation Vita development kits, adding to its existing stock of PS3 and PS4 dev kits. And students have access to all of the hardware in the university’s newly dubbed PlayStation lab.
The PS Vita and PS4 development kits have been given to the university as part of its partnership with PlayStation First, SCEE’s Academic Development Programme.
“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,” said SCEE head of academic development Maria Stukoff.
“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, added: “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 Vita.”
At Abertay, two student teams totalling 22 people are currently working with FuturLab co-founders James Marsden and Kirsty Rigden. One team is building on FuturLab’s Velocity series of games with another pitching a new game concept to the company.
Marsden 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.”
Sony’s PlayStation First scheme started partnering with universities to offer them PS4 development kits, which are identical to those used by professional game studios, shortly after the console’s European launch.
Other universities with access to PS4 and Vita dev kits include Birmingham City University – Gamer Camp, Sheffield Hallam University, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and Playground Squad in Sweden.
Last month, Epic Games announced a partnership with Staffordshire University to open its first Games Centre in the UK.
Image: Alan Richardson/Abertay University