Twenty-five executives and experts in the interactive entertainment industry are taking part in an event to discuss how New York City lawmakers can attract and support an industry that generates nearly $5 billion a year today. The event is being hosted and sponsored by Polytechnic Institute of New York University (in Brooklyn, NY).
The University of California at Santa Cruz has hired Brenda and John Romero to lead a new program that inevitably earns students a master's degree in games and playable media at the school's Silicon Valley Center. Brenda Romero was appointed as the school's first game designer in residence at the Center for Games and Playable Media in January 2013.
Worcester, Massachusetts-based Becker College and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) have been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to help build the MassDiGI New Ventures Center (NVC). Becker College also announced that it will match the EDA grant, making a total of $2.8 million available to build the state-of-the-art facility.
A new study led by neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco found that the video game "NeuroRacer" helped older participants improve their ability to multitask, which also carried over into their everyday lives. The study also showed how patterns of brain activity change as those cognitive skills improve.
Researchers in the United Kingdom are warning MMO developers that they need to consider limiting the amount of time the average player spends per session to combat "pathological addiction," and avoid inevitable government intervention. Researchers at Cardiff, Derby and Nottingham Trent universities said some gamers play up to "90 hours a session," and that if game companies did not create in-game limits for players, governments might have no choice but to follow Asia's model for limiting play time.
A new research paper published in the Pediatrics 2013 medical journal concludes that young boys with autism spectrum disorder spend much more time playing video games than boys with average development. Researchers also conclude that boys with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD are at greater risk for "problematic video game use."
Stefan Svallfors, a professor of sociology at Umea University has submitted former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as his pick for the Nobel Peace Prize. Recently he sent a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee nominating Snowden because of his leaks on several secret NSA surveillance programs being run in the U.S. and in Europe.
New research from Penn State Altoona suggests that new technology such as the motion sensing technology used in the Wii does not increase aggressive behavior in players. The research, which was recently published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, was conducted by Eric Charles and a team of researchers at Penn State Altoona (thanks to PHX Corp. for the tip).
An extensive and exclusive report over on Polygon reveals that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are getting closer to pursuing the Obama Administration edict to study the correlation between violent media (music, movies, television and video games) and gun violence. The President called for more research in January of this year in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe announced today that educators and academics can apply for PlayStation 4 development kits beginning tomorrow as part of the PlayStationFirst Academic Programme. The PS4 joins other kits made available to educators and academics including those for PlayStation 3, PS Vita, PlayStation Portable - as well as kits for PlayStation Home and PlayStation Mobile. These Academic development kits include access to PlayStation software and hardware, lessons in programming, computer engineering, and developing software.
The University of California, Davis announced grants for vocational education, child poverty, international migration and the cultural impact of video games. All of these topics are part of the Interdisciplinary Frontiers in Humanities and Arts program, which will receive combined funding of $3.6 million over three years. The goal is to kick start new research that can go on to compete for funding from "external sources." The funding comes from indirect costs of grants awarded to UC Davis under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or stimulus funds.
Researchers from North Carolina State University are using cockroaches and Microsoft's Kinect sensor for an experiment that allows them to drive the little insects around. Using Microsoft's motion-sensing Kinect technology and some electronics, they've figured out how to control a cockroach in real life.
The team of scientists working on this bizarre project hope that a remote-controlled cockroach could one day be used in disaster search-and-rescue scenarios, such as mapping out a collapsed building or finding survivors.
ReasonTV has an interesting interview with Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, who continues to evangelize the use of video game-like components as a means to enhance the public educational system through his new company Brain Rush. Bushnell is also known as the founder of the Chuck E Cheese chain of restraints, the author of the new book "Finding the Next Steve Jobs," and is often referred to as the "Father of Video Games."
New research from Duke University published in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics finds that first-person shooters (or action games) help gamers to develop increased visual sensitivity that can be used to react quickly to stimuli in their field of vision. Games mentioned include Call of Duty and BioShock. The more immersed they are in the self-contained world of a video game, the better gamers become at quickly making "probabilistic inferences" about what certain visual indicators might lead to, even with limited information.
Monash University researcher Dr. Andy Ruddock from the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies and Brendan Keogh from the School of Media and Communication at RMIT (both in Australia, in case you didn't know) will host a seminar to discuss how better collaboration between media effects researchers and games studies researchers can find common ground and work together to improve understanding on the effects of violent video games on real world behavior.
Video games can make teens better citizens, according to Kathy Sanford, an education professor at the University of Victoria, (British Columbia, Canada) She comes to this conclusion after a five year research project that followed a group of teens between the ages of 13-17 years old. Sanford sat down with The Globe and Mail earlier this week to talk about her findings before presenting them at a UVic conference of humanities and social sciences.
The Entertainment Merchants Association Scholarship Foundation has announced the two individuals that will receive academic scholarships of $1,500 per year for up to four years. This year’s recipients are Haadjer Benmerzouga and Emily Sargent. Haadjer Benmerzouga is a pharmacy technician for Giant Eagle graduating from Cleveland State this year with a 3.8 GPA. Benmerzouga has been accepted into Northeast Ohio Medical University to study pharmacy science.
Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka is headed to the White House for a year. Pahlka founded Code for America in 2009 as a way of pairing technology and software companies with cities that are struggling to bring services into the information age. Pahlka will serve as the White House’s latest deputy chief technology officer for government innovation, according to a post on the organization’s blog.
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) today revealed the five finalists from its inaugural E3 College Game Competition. The five finalists are Alamo Colleges, Northwest Vista College; Brigham Young University; Savannah College of Art and Design; University of Chicago; University of Wisconsin-Stout. Finalists were chosen by a panel of industry experts, who selected the best and brightest from 400 US colleges and universities with computer and video game development programs.
London's Victoria & Albert Museum has hit a milestone of sorts this week. It has appointed it's very first Game Designer in Residence - Sophia George of Swallowtail Games. The BAFTA Award-winning game designer will work closely with the V&A museum and the University of Abertay Dundee to emphasize the history of British game design. She will release a game related to the residency by the summer of 2014. Game Designer in Residence is also supported by The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE).
Former Junction Point founder Warren Spector will deliver a keynote address at the Captivate Conference and Expo in October. Spector's keynote will be "Leadership in the Arts," and focuses on leadership in a creative medium. Spector has been developing games for over 30 years. His list of credits include the Epic Mickey series (Junction Point), Deus Ex series (Ion Storm Austin, Eidos), several Ultima games (Origin) and System Shock (Looking Glass).
Justin Reich from the EdTech Blog has posted a video of the "Play Nice: The Science of Player Behavior" talk given last month by Riots Games' Jeffrey Lin (lead designer of social systems) and Carl "Status" Kwoh (the producer for the player behavior team) at Berkman Center for Internet & Society (at Harvard).
Researchers at the University of Connecticut and Wake Forest University claim that when players fight against human-looking opponents, those players become more aggressive. They even go so far as to say that games with these types of opponents in them may be more likely to provoke violent thoughts and words than games where monsters are the enemy.
The U.S. Department of Education announced the winners of this year's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract awards. The SBIR funds are earmarked for small businesses using "cutting-edge R&D" to develop technologies to solve tough problems. Half of those contracts are game-related in some way - either they are for games or use gaming technology in a creative way.
Organizers of The Boston Festival of Indie Games announced that game designer and producer Robin Hunicke will deliver the keynote address at this year's event to take place Saturday, September 14, 2013 at the Stratton Student Center and the Johnson Athletic Center on the MIT campus.
The Peter Thiel Foundation (founded by the former CEO and co-founder of PayPal) announced the third set of young entrepreneurs to be awarded 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowships. These new "Thiel Fellows" will receive $100,000 from the Thiel Foundation as well as mentorship from the Foundation’s network of entrepreneurs over a two year period.
Four coding schools just for young girls and women are trying to change the number of females that program (and give girls more STEM-focused educational opportunities) in the United States - as highlighted in this ReadWriteWeb feature. The start-ups catering to women and girls aspiring to learn how to code include Girl Develop It, Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code, and Girls Learning Code/Ladies Learning Code.