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Last Updated: Friday, 23 May, 2003, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Computer games degree 'not Mickey Mouse'
Sony PlayStation 2 games console
PlayStation maker Sony is sponsoring the course
A university degree which focuses on computer games is not "Mickey Mouse", an academic has claimed.

Sheffield Hallam University has begun recruiting for a Masters course in entertainment software development which begins in October.

Principal lecturer Bob Steele said it was aimed at skilled computer programmers who wanted to be part of the 12bn worldwide gaming industry.

He said it was far removed from stereotypical cultural studies projects analysing anything from David Beckham to science fiction movies.

'Not just about the games'

Mr Steele said the course had been developed in response to the needs of the industry and would work closely with multinational firms including PlayStation maker Sony - which is sponsoring part of the course.

He said: "This is a serious business worth a lot of money. We need to work with the industry to develop the programmers of the future.

"The course relates to a industry which is fast maturing.

"There is this image of games programmers as nerds sitting alone in their bedrooms but its just not like that anymore.

"Often games are developed in large teams of 20 plus people, over a number of years, working with budgets of several million pounds.

"And it's not just about the games. The whole entertainment software industry is taking off with everything from interactive TV to the simulations used in industry.

"It all feeds off the computer games industry."

Mr Steele said the course was intended for students serious about working in the industry, who can expect to earn salaries of 30,000 and above.

In January, higher education minister Margaret Hodge angered many people in higher education when she described some university courses as "Mickey Mouse".

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