Singapore, MIT Team on Game Development Lab

Hoping to cash in on surging demand for games, Singapore’s Media Development Authority has signed a deal with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to set up a joint research lab for game technologies.

The Singapore-MIT International Game Lab aims to bring students and researchers in Singapore together with experts from MIT and the game industry. The lab, which will have centers in Singapore and at MIT, will be jointly headed by the directors of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program, Henry Jenkins and William Uricchio.

MIT’s partner in the venture, the Media Development Authority (MDA), is the arm of Singapore’s government charged with overseeing the development of the country’s media industry. It was formed in 2003 with the merger of the Singapore Broadcast Authority, the Films and Publications Department, and the Singapore Film Commission.

Over the next five years, 300 Singapore students will have the opportunity to work on research at the Singapore-MIT International Game Lab, MDA said in a statement. These students in turn will help boost the development of Singapore’s own gaming industry, it said.

Gaming is big business in Asia, and other governments in the region are hoping to spur the development of their local game industries.

In September, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government-backed research body, announced a deal to set up a game development lab in partnership with a local game developer. The move aims to help local companies tap into growing revenue from online games in China, which is expected to hit 9.7 billion renminbi (US$1.2 billion) next year, according to market analyst iResearch.

-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Singapore Bureau)

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