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MDS launches games accelerator

Media Design School, Auckland, 29 September 2015: Media Design School is excited to announce the launch of Media Design School Studios; a brand new initiative on campus that will enable a select group of students to develop their entrepreneurial skills by creating commercially viable start-up game studios.

This accelerator programme, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, will offer a select group of students who are studying in the field of Game Development (Game Art or Game Programming) the unique opportunity to take their game prototype or concept and, through intensive industry mentorship and access to additional software and equipment, will enable them to create commercially successful ventures whilst simultaneously studying at Media Design School.

Chief Executive Officer of Media Design School, Darryn Melrose, says that Media Design School Studios will give Media Design School students an additional opportunity to contribute to the overall growth and success of New Zealand’s games industry.

“As the first school in New Zealand to provide specialised gaming degrees for aspirational game developers and as the only school in New Zealand to offer the PlayStation®First Academic Development Programme, we are delighted to be able to offer our students the opportunity to turn their academically oriented projects into commercially sustainable products,” says Melrose.

“Entering an established games studio is a completely valid career path, as there are some really great games companies both domestically and overseas, however our students may also want to create their own independent companies because there’s a very supportive developer community here in New Zealand,”

“Even if our students do elect to go on to work for an established games company after graduation, hopefully this opportunity will expose our students to some additional learning, including the ability to pitch in front of a panel, and give them an indication of what investors are looking for in terms of creating commercially viable, internationally relevant games,”

“That’s an invaluable educational experience,” said Melrose.

​The first teams to be offered the opportunity to join Media Design School Studios, Itsfine Games, MA Studios and Voidworks, were selected from a shortlist of six teams after pitching their proposed games projects to a panel of industry judges including Mario Wynands, CEO of PikPok; Darren Green, CEO and Co-Founder of OutSmart Games; Shaveer Mirpuri, Studio Manager at Outsmart Games, at the time of judging; Rudi Bublitz, an investor with Flying Kiwi Angels; and Melrose.

Their presentations were also sent to a panel of international judges including Tom Bolton (EA, Ubisoft and Edge Case Studios); Richard Franke (EA, Criterion and Magic Notion); and Bob Morate (EA, Nintendo, Ubisoft) to evaluate.

Of his involvement with Media Design School Studios, Darren Green says that the initiative “… is an important step in bridging the gap between education and business and we fully support this as an important part of developing the games industry in New Zealand.”

As part of Media Design School Studios, the selected students will be given access to resources that will allow them to commercialise their games and creative technology projects as well as mentorship from the judging panel.

Participants in the first intake of the programme, which commences this week, will retain all ownership of their prototype, including their intellectual property and any revenue generated from their enterprise.

Media Design School is New Zealand’s most-awarded private tertiary institution. Distinguished by its close alignment to the industry, both domestically and internationally, the Auckland-based school offers specialist degrees for emerging creative industries including the Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects); the Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art); the Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Programming); and the Bachelor of Media Design. A range of foundation diplomas and graduate qualifications are also available.

Media Design School is part of Laureate International Universities, the world’s largest private university group with over 80 institutions in 29 countries, including dedicated design schools in San Diego, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Milan, Italy. For more information, visit www.mediadesignschool.com

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