Sony UK pushes for schools to adopt games

At the Learning Without Frontiers conference in London today, Ray Maguire, the managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment UK, pushed for a collaborative effort among game designers, educators, and the government to accelerate technological advancement in schools and present game design as a viable career path. We also expected him to express concerns regarding overuse of the word "frontier" in relation to education, but he didn't comment on the topic.

"There has to be a public and private partnership. Promote digital content creation as a career choice – it shouldn't' be 'I want to be a doctor or a lawyer,' it should be 'I want to be game designer' as well," said Maguire. He also stated that Sony is currently "doing work with government" to bring game design courses to universities.

Sony also hopes to employ Move and PSPs in schools (presumably for youth), as well as create "teacher packs" for LittleBigPlanet. The details of these efforts are unclear, but it isn't hard to imagine LBP being adapted for educational purposes.

Above: Learning?

"We shouldn't wait too much longer. A collaborative effort is absolutely required, it needs endorsement at the highest level, it needs someone in government to say we will do this," said Maguire.


Of course, Sony isn't only motivated by social enrichment - Maguire added that game-related businesses may acquire "the ability to make revenue out of this in the same way a textbook manufacturer does." But it isn't just about direct revenue - do you want Sony products pushed in schools? Should educational devices, even if beneficial, come at the cost of corporate indoctrination?

We all know that "edutainment" is a misnomer, because it implies that the current stable of 'educational' games offers entertainment and education, which is the exception, not the rule. But that shouldn't preclude continued thought about the potential for games - or, as better put in a classroom setting, interactive learning experiences - as educational devices. If implemented well (in the UK or elsewhere), I'm all for experimentation with digital education (as a tool, of course, and not a replacement for books and teachers). It must, however, be carefully handled, such that it doesn't become a marketing opportunity under the guise of social investment.

As for universities - the elements of game design should absolutely be available subjects of study in public institutions. The game industry out-grosses the film industry, and overlaps with other emerging fields, such as general application programming and 3D arts for film and TV.

Hey, also, did anyone else use LOGO in school? LOGO rules.


Jan 11, 2011



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  • Robx - January 12, 2011 5:55 p.m.

    Games Radar, I just wanted to say that last Monday I begun a career in Design and Development of Video Games in Madrid!
  • NightCrawler_358 - January 12, 2011 12:39 p.m.

    LBP can be used in woodshop, science, math, english, and if you put your mind to it, any subject in school in some way. It would make kids really enjoy school and make homework fun. I just hope these ideas shift on over to North America.
  • potpan0 - January 12, 2011 7:59 a.m.

    I think schools should definately do more to do with games. My school has stuff like flash and other programming things on the computers, but they only teach us how to use Excel and Word. My dream career would be to be a game designer, but because I know jack all about programming, I probably won't be able to.
  • Valcrist - January 12, 2011 1:50 a.m.

    Seems I misunderstood your statement, sorry. But yeah, I totally agreee that this move has a lot of potential but has to be threaded on very carefully. Also, taht open source idea has been somewhat taught in a few colleges I think, but it would be nice to see it implemented more widely
  • Nap1400 - January 12, 2011 1:14 a.m.

    Man, I could see a ton of jokes that go along with this, but I'll be serious about my view. I'm.......on the fence. While game designing is going to be looked down upon by the last generation (aka the PTA) it may not be such a bad idea. Isn't it basically like movie directing? That's not looked down upon, so why shouldn't teachers allow a course for developing the new main form of entertainment?
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - January 12, 2011 1:14 a.m.

    @santaclouse37 What you said.
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - January 12, 2011 1:13 a.m.

    @Valcrist I didn't mean for that comment to come off as naive - I know it's already happening, which is why I suggest that precautions be taken so that it doesn't happen with yet another set of products. I have no problem with branded products existing in schools in general - of course, it has to be this way, unless someone plans to scrape the apples off of every Mac - but there is a line between educational use and blatant promotion, and you're right to say that it's crossed too often. As long as care is taken to apply only legitimate educational products to schools, I don't care if it's Sony, or Microsoft, or Capcom making them. But I imagine most would rather not have "Sony Presents 20th Century History" make its way into the curriculum, for the same reason they'd rather not have BP sponsored lessons on the environment. PlayStations in schools? It's possible, but I'd suggest that a superior route would be to stick to products developed for personal computers, which offer somewhat more neutrality, even if developed by Sony or anyone else. Or hey, how about a suite of open source teaching applications which are continually improved upon by the teaching community? There ya go.
  • santaclouse37 - January 12, 2011 1:10 a.m.

    @Valcrist - Tyler isn't saying that there isn't already advertising and corporate endorsement in schools - no one's going to deny that - he's just saying that this issue should be handled carefully so that Sony isn't added among those products schools endorse at the expense of impressionable students. That's an opinion that, given the contents of your comment, I doubt you'd disagree with.
  • Brizee - January 12, 2011 1:07 a.m.

    Brilliant, it couldn't come a moment too soon. If it weren't for sheer dumb luck finding an advert online, I probably would have never in my wildest dreams imagined that making games would be taught at University, let alone as a potential career choice. Nor would I be sitting in Dundee right now worrying about my coursework for Abertay's Computer Games Technology course. Although I must admit I do see how it would be very profitable to have Sony products in childrens hands before the Playstation verus Xbox debate has ever started although in the short term the provision of things like Playstation Move are probably favourable since all major player's have something vaguely similar in that area. Still I can't see Microsoft keeping shtum about Sony brainwashing the next generation and hopefully should the education system do its job (yeah.. i know) then the youth of tommorrow will be bright enough sparks to see beyond the Sony label in the classroom. Although when all's said and done I think the government are gonna be the square wheel in this plan.
  • Valcrist - January 12, 2011 1:02 a.m.

    Try to see if you can read "Fast food nation", it focuses a lot on fast food (duh!) but theres an entire chapter dealing with edutainment and product placement in schools
  • Valcrist - January 12, 2011 1 a.m.

    "doesn't become a marketing opportunity under the guise of social investment" please... have you seen a school recently? marketing in schools has been profitable for quite some time now, more specifically with fast food, are you gonna tell me that dr pepper´s vending machines in the hallways, pizza hut at the cafeteria, and coke day are not marketing? heck, if we stretch it, how about fuel companies donating materials and funds to schools, and then said schools saying that coal and fossil fuels are an enviromental free energy source? Or stretching it even further, how about said companies paying school amdinistrative staff to allow em to place their products there? From my point of view this is already happening, and if these sort of companies make their bucks this way and (more impotantly) get brand loyalty as well, why shouldnt games get that too?
  • KielbasaNinja - January 12, 2011 12:45 a.m.

    Hmm...Move support for Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, anyone?

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