Local BBC Sites

Neighbouring Sites

Page last updated at 13:49 GMT, Wednesday, 25 August 2010 14:49 UK
Computer games course in Norwich scores record uptake
By David Biggins
BBC Norfolk

Nintendo DS (Photo: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender)
In the UK 44 development studios have closed in two years

A Norfolk university is reporting its highest ever enrolment for its computer games degree despite struggles in the gaming industry.

Sixty students will start their Games Art and Design undergraduate course at the Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA) in October 2010.

The course's popularity has increased by 200% since 2005.

NUCA is also looking to further help its graduates by funding the set up of studios in Norfolk.

"The course is gaining a growing reputation for its facilities and education experience," said course leader Marie Claire Isaaman.

The BA degree at NUCA focuses on the design and animation used to create today's immersive gaming experiences, while looking at the historical context of the now retro games of the early '80s, including Pacman and Super Mario Bros.

The course is quickly gaining respect in the UK gaming industry, with some of its more recent graduates landing jobs at independent studios such as Jagex in Cambridge - the company responsible for Runescape, an online game that boasts more than 100 million players.

The university is also a member of the iPhone Developer University Program, creating smartphone apps as part of its curriculum.

"Recent graduates have been successful in their career pathways and this has enhanced the reputation of the course garnering interest and increasing recruitment, including international applications," said Marie Claire.

Games industry

Despite having the highest number of games development companies and publishers in Europe, the UK games industry has been struggling in recent years.

Zoltan Fejes, an art student at NUCA, Norwich
Students from the computer games course have landed studio jobs

According to TIGA, the trade association that represents the UK's games industry, 44 games development studios have closed in the last two years.

Earlier this year, computer games designers were disappointed by the coalition government's decision not to implement a tax break for the UK video games industry. The tax break had been proposed by shadow chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling in the previous government.

Despite these setbacks in the computer games industry, new research conducted by Ofcom has revealed that online gaming is now more popular than downloading music or films.

Marie Claire Isaaman believes that the future of the UK games industry lies in independent development studios and hopes that her students at the NUCA can play a greater role in these studios in the future.

"We are looking at working with funding bodies to support start-up companies for games and that might well be here in Norwich," she said.

"There could be a future for small, independent studios in Norwich. Considering the success of the course, which is increasing in numbers year by year, this could happen."




SEE ALSO
Soldiers on call for game ban
23 Aug 10 |  Technology
Realtime collapse costs 185 jobs
18 Aug 10 |  Tayside & Central
Local bands' music in video game
30 Jun 10 |  BBC Introducing
No tax breaks for gaming industry
25 Jun 10 |  Technology
Game industry threat to leave UK
23 Jun 10 |  Tayside & Central
NUCA profiles: 2009 students
24 Jun 09 |  Arts & Culture
Art Degree Shows 2009 at the NUCA
24 Jun 09 |  Arts & Culture

OTHER RELATED BBC LINKS


BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific