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Scottish Government Minister opens Dare ProtoPlay

4 August 2016

Dare 2016 opening

Picture shows, from left: Professor Nigel Seaton, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Dare contestant Lukasz Gomula, Dave Jones, Hu Kai and Wang Yuyun

A Scottish Government Minister today opened Scotland’s biggest indie computer games festival in Dundee, as one of the world’s largest games companies prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abertay University to increase learning opportunities for their graduates.

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science officially opened the Dare to be Digital ProtoPlay event, organised by Abertay University, at the Caird Hall in Dundee this morning.

ProtoPlay is Scotland's biggest indie games festival and showcases the games produced by the 16 UK and international student teams in Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital competition as well as featuring other indie games from local, national and international developers alongside a varied educational programme for the public. 

This year’s event is particularly significant for Abertay University, as well as the wider Scottish video games industry as it coincides with a visit to Dundee by a senior delegation from Perfect World, a Chinese video games company which is amongst the largest in the world.

During the visit, Perfect World is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at securing a closer working relationship with Abertay University. This includes sharing of skills and possible future employment opportunities for Abertay graduates, further cementing the university’s place as a global centre of excellence in the ever-growing computer games industry.

At the opening, Ms. Somerville also met computer games legend and Abertay alumnus Dave Jones, the creative genius behind revolutionary games such as Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto. 

Around 13,000 people are expected to attend the free public event in Dundee’s City Square, first held in 2007, before it closes on Sunday (7 August). The event is particularly helpful to young people as it gives them an opportunity to speak to people working or studying in the sector, allowing them to learn more about the games industry and the opportunities that exist for their future careers.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, commented: 'As Europe’s leading university for computer games education, we are delighted to welcome Scottish Government minister Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP and Perfect World’s Senior Vice-President Wang Yuyun and her colleagues here today.

'Dare ProtoPlay is a highlight of our academic year and a perfect showcase for the new talent that we work to foster and promote to the international games industry.

'It’s therefore the ideal venue for Abertay and Perfect World to formally commit to collaborating internationally in computer-games education, research and professional development, and promoting ever-closer global links between universities and business.” 

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, said: 'Scotland’s creative industries support more than 71,000 jobs and contribute more than £5 billion to the economy. Our computer games sector is a global success story, with highly successful games like Lemmings and Grand Theft Auto developed here.   

'Abertay University introduced the world’s first Computer Games Technology degree almost 20 years ago and continues to attract top talent from around the world to study in Dundee. Its Dare to be Digital competition is an excellent showcase of the innovation and talent that Scotland can offer aspiring games developers.

'The new partnership between Perfect World Entertainment and Abertay University will provide further incentive for tomorrow’s games developers to hone their talent in Dundee.'

Ms Wang YuYun, Senior Vice President of Perfect World, said: 'Perfect World Education. founded in 2014, is dedicated to digital art education and R & D of Internet entertainment technology. It aims to cultivate a large pool of talents in cultural and creative technology and management, improve China’s cultural and creative industry, and promote digital and interactive entertainment industry.

'Perfect World Education is honored to attend the opening ceremony of Dare ProtoPlay. The game design competition during the festival, which helps select top talents in digital arts and games development, can not only promote products with British characteristics and business value, but also pool creative talents for the country’s cultural and creative industry. Dare ProtoPlay plays a very positive role in advancing the cultural and creative industry in Britain.

'Perfect World Education is very pleased to have reached consensus with Abertay University and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create cultural exchange opportunities among students and faculty members between the two sides that can benefit discipline building and games development. Based on ever closer cooperation programs, we are convinced that the two countries can build a stronger exchange mechanism that can contribute to common development and integration of the cultural sector.'

Dave Jones said: 'I‘m delighted to be attending Dare Protoplay this year, which continues to be the premier showcase for the worldwide talents of aspiring game creators. It's fitting to be here at the birthplace of some of the greatest games, games which trace their heritage back to Abertay University. Games that have grown to be a showcase for the amazing game development community we have in Scotland.'

'It's always fun to be playing new fresh ideas over the course of the event, as we work in an industry where global successes can grow from these seeds of innovation. Also a warm welcome to Perfect World visiting this year, who recognise all this potential Dare Protoplay & Abertay University offers.'

The Dare to be Digital ProtoPlay event is taking place in City Square and the Caird Hall, Dundee.  It is open to the public and free to attend.  It is open 10am–6pm on Thursday (4 August), Friday (5 August) and Saturday (6 August) and then 10am–4pm on Sunday (7 August).

View the full Dare ProtoPlay 2016 programme

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