Partnership Brings Simulations and Games Institute to Prince William Campus

Posted: October 18, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: October 22, 2013 at 7:00 am

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Expanding the reach of George Mason University’s Serious Games Institute, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently announced the location of the Simulations and Games Institute (SGI) at George Mason’s Prince William Campus within Innovation Technology Park.

SGI serves as the applied research, business development and corporate education arm of the Computer Game Design Program in Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The new location serves as one of four international affiliates of the Serious Games Institute, which is an operating division of Coventry University in England. Other affiliates include locations in Singapore, South Africa and Mexico.

“Prince William County is an excellent location to grow and nurture a gaming cluster because the county has a highly educated workforce that is already contributing to advances in related technologies,” says Scott Martin, director of the computer game design program and SGI. “Prince William County is poised to take advantage of the growing gaming industry market and SGI will be the catalyst to do so.”

According to Martin, Mason’s computer game design program has more than 600 students and is the fastest growing program at the university. In addition to its entertainment component, “serious game” applications and “gamification” are becoming ever more significant with new utilization in the areas of healthcare, education, defense, business decision-making and cyber security.

“The establishment of SGI in Prince William County will allow Mason to support this rapidly growing academic and commercial market,” says Martin.

SGI announced that it would move into 4,000 square feet of space located in the Mason Enterprise Center at Bull Run Hall by December 2013. It will provide accelerator space with studios, a product development lab, contract research space and company offices for individuals, entrepreneurs and established companies in the field of computer game design.

The space will provide access to student talent, interaction with other game design firms, physical offices and studios, computer equipment, and potential support from partner foundations and equity participants.

To help secure the establishment of SGI at the Prince William Campus, the board granted $32,000 from the County Economic Development Opportunity Fund to the George Mason University Foundation Inc. The money will will be used to furnish and equip the new office space.

Mason has also announced its intent to graduate three companies from SGI and to attract six additional computer game design companies to lease permanent commercial office space in Prince William County over the next three years. These nine new businesses will provide 39 new simulation gaming industry jobs to Prince William County.

“Our primary objective for economic development in Prince William County is to continue bringing high-wage jobs to the community so our residents can work closer to home,” says Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Board of County Supervisors. “This announcement is a testament to the ongoing partnership and collaboration we have with George Mason University and we are eager to see the growth and expansion of the companies coming from Mason’s world-class program.”

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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