A new multi-million pound Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) project will establish a dedicated research and development centre for the Dundee video games cluster with a view to driving product, service and experience innovation across the industry.
Led by the city’s Abertay University, in partnership with the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews, the project will offer a high level resource to local, Scottish and UK games companies, benefiting from significant funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Creative Industries Clusters programme and the Scottish Funding Council.
Games industry partners include 4J Studios, All4Games, BBC, Beano Studios, Biome Collective, DeltaDNA, Microsoft, Outplay Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe, while business and cluster development will be supported by Creative Dundee, Creative Scotland, Elevator UK, Interface, Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise, TIGA, UK Games Fund and UK Interactive Entertainment and V&A Dundee.
The project is the latest investment in a string of success for Dundee - the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design – with the announcement coming just a week before the opening of the £80.1m V&A Dundee Museum of Design.
InGAME will take a highly collaborative approach, with artists, designers and creative writers co-located with technologists and business specialists.
“This is a really significant investment for the Dundee games industry which will have benefits for studios across the UK" - Professor Gregor White, Abertay University
SME games studios will have access to the partners’ expertise, engaging in creative experimentation, utilising new and emerging games technologies, exploring new audiences, and forming interdisciplinary working relationships.
With the ability to rapidly prototype and test ideas, InGAME will also develop experimental processes for the generation of original creative content, while promoting the diversification of new products and markets.
Business modelling, user analytics and service design will all be embedded within the project, which seeks to promote significant growth, increased sustainability and intensification of the Dundee games cluster.
InGAME will also provide industry experience for students from all three universities as they work on business-led briefs.
The project will involve academic researchers, students, industry experts and business leaders, and is expected to further energise the successful Dundee cluster, which is characterised by a high number of micro-SMEs creating content for mobile, tablet and PC gaming platforms, as well as larger SME’s with more established product portfolios.
InGAME is one of nine AHRC Creative Clusters announced across the UK, with the University of Edinburgh's data innovation partnership leading the only other Scotland-based project.
Professor Gregor White, Head of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics and architect of InGAME, said: “This is a really significant investment for the Dundee games industry which will have benefits for studios across the UK. As well as pushing forward new technological innovations, we will be seeking to find innovative solutions to some of the challenges faced by games companies, including the management of financial and sustainability risks associated with developing original material.”
Professor James Livesey, Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of Dundee, said: “This project builds on the world-class expertise in the local universities and will create outstanding opportunities for our students to work with some of the biggest names in the computer games and entertainment industry. It will also be a model for interaction between academia and the creative industries.”
Professor Paul Hibbert, University of St Andrews Vice-Principal Education (Proctor) said: "The computer games industry is a key part of Scotland's creative industries sector with the potential for strong growth within existing companies, new venture formation and graduate level employment. InGame is a groundbreaking multi-partner award that will facilitate knowledge transfer and develop a better understanding of the growth bottlenecks confronting this exciting sector. The Institute for Capitalising on Creativity in the School of Management at the University of St Andrews is proud to partner Abertay and Dundee universities on this important and transformative project.
“The video games sector is an integral part of Dundee’s creative industries, and this partnership has the potential to open the door for innovative new ideas that will benefit our local cluster and others across the UK" - Gillian Easson, Director, Creative Dundee.
Chairman of 4J studios Chris van der Kuyl said: “We are delighted to be involved in the InGAME partnership which will undoubtedly drive forward innovation in the video games sector, not only in the Dundee games cluster but across the UK. Dundee has a history of achieving great things when mixing together academia, industry and enterprise, and this project will act as a catalyst for further development at this exciting time for the city.”
Malath Abbas (above right) of Biome Collective said: "Biome Collective are proud to be a key partner in the InGAME creative cluster project. As an organisation on the forefront of art, design and creative technology, research and experimentation are integral to our collective process. We are excited to begin working with our partners and collaborators on exploring and creating ground breaking playful experiences."
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, CEO of TIGA, said: “This new research and development centre will promote innovation, creativity and productivity in our video games industry. It will help games businesses to surmount technical and commercial challenges. Above all, it will bolster, enhance and strengthen the video games industry in Dundee, Scotland and the wider UK.”
Paul Durrant, CEO of the UK Games Fund said: "As a UK facing organisation it's great to see the launch of the new Creative Clusters. We're delighted to be working with InGAME in our home cluster in Dundee as well as a number of others elsewhere."
Kenny Mitchell, Professor of Game Technology at Edinburgh Napier University and Head of Interactive Graphics at Disney Research Los Angeles said: “Innovation with creativity is the life blood of digital entertainment as embodied by Scotland’s video games heritage. The InGAME project builds upon established equitable connectivity to research and business networks on a global stage.”
Andrew Cameron, V&A Dundee Programme Manager said: “V&A Dundee’s Design for Business programme is delighted to be a supporter and contributor to the InGAME AHRC partnership. Innovation is the lifeblood of the Digital and Gaming sector. V&A Dundee’s Design for Business programme is exclusively focussed on helping businesses and organisations unlock the power of that innovation through the application of design.”
Dr Siobhán Jordan, Director of Interface, said: “We look forward to partnering with the interdisciplinary and cross-university teams in response to, and in collaboration with, the evolving and developing needs of the industry partners. The team at Interface can draw on our long-established track record of brokering industry-led collaborations with SMEs across all sectors and supporting with access to potential funding."