Children from a Newcastle school were given a taste of the region’s buoyant gaming industry.
More than 20 pupils from Excelsior Academy in the city joined some of the world’s top computer programmers at Newcastle University.
The children, aged 14 and 15, met key people from the industry at Newcastle University’s Games Lab, which teaches a new degree programme in gaming.
The North East is fast becoming the world’s gaming capital, with big-name games such as Just Dance 5 and Auto Club created here in the region.
Dr Graham Morgan, head of Newcastle University’s Games Lab, said: “With many games having development budgets in excess of £50m there are typically over a 100 people of various talents needed to create modern video games for the major consoles platforms.
“However, at the other end of the spectrum, independent studios of only a few individuals can create a hit game on a mobile device or a fun game such as Minecraft that catches the attention of the world.
“There’s a common misconception that these games are produced in America but there are more than 30 gaming studios in the North East, both large and smal, that are creating the technology behind some of the world’s biggest titles.
“There is a skills shortage and we want youngsters in the region to know that they’re needed to meet the future demand of the industry, not overseas, but here in the North East.”
US based games giant, Ubisoft, has a studio in Newcastle and is keen to recruit some of the best talent the North East has to offer.
Jordan Wise, programmer at Ubisoft and a graduate from Newcastle’s Games Lab talked to the children about what it is like to work on top titles in the video games industry.
He said: “There is a skills shortage in the North East and we want to inspire the next generation of games programmers.
“We feel it’s important that children from deprived areas get a chance of landing their dream job.
“We’ve seen at least three children here today that are real shining stars. We’re the third biggest publisher in the world and we’d love to draw on the talent we’ve seen here today.”
Since the first video game was launched on the market around 45 years ago, the video game industry has taken a central place in entertainment culture for children and adults alike.
The world video gaming industry is predicted to record 9% yearly growth through 2013, to exceed £46.5bn, according to Business Insights.