Scottish University Becomes Europe’s Largest PlayStation Teaching Lab

Scottish University Becomes Europe’s Largest PlayStation Teaching Lab

As announced in a press release, Scotland’s University of Abertay has now become Europe’s largest laboratory dedicated to PlayStation console development kits, the lab of which was opened today (February 21). The newly dubbed PlayStation lab is comprised of 30 new permanent PlayStation Vita development kits, a selection which adds to the University’s existing stock of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 development kits.

Every programming student at Abertay will now be able to learn how to use the PlayStation Vita dev kits, and they already have access to the PlayStation 3 and 4 dev kits within this new lab. This was made possible thanks to a deal between the University of Abertay and PlayStation First, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s (SCEE’s) Academic Development Program. This program offers development kits to universities that are identical to the same dev kits used by professional development studios to produce PlayStation games.

“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 Dr Maria Stukoff, Head of Academic Development at SCEE, in the press release. “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.”

“Abertay is very proud to have the largest teaching laboratory of PlayStation consoles in Europe, and it’s something our students benefit hugely from,” commented Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University. “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.”

What’s more, all undergraduate Abertay students will be taking part in a major third-year project to build a game, a project where the university’s artists, designers, programers and audio engineers all team together as if they were running a small development studio, with professional mentors overlooking the project as it goes along.

As part of the university’s PlayStation lab, two teams of 22 people in total have been working with FutureLab co-founders James Marsden and Kirsty Rigden. One of those teams are building FutureLab’s successful Velocity series, with the other team pitching a completely new idea to the studio.

“We think this initiative is fantastic,” James Marsden said in the press release. “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.”

The students are encouraged to use the PlayStation Vita dev kit’s full range of controls and options to help exploit the potential of the dev kit and of their own skills, utilizing the handheld’s twin analogue sticks and its front touchscreen, as well as its rear touchpad. Considering I’m thinking about applying to University of Abertay in the coming years, this is excellent news! I honestly can’t wait to dig my hands into those dev kits if the time comes.

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