Anne Sado, President of George Brown College, has announced that the college will be increasing its commitment to the digital media sector with its gaming development and design programs in a new learning environment at 333 King St. E.
The facility will also feature an industry incubator to bring together video gaming and digital media startups in Toronto with George Brown College students. Scheduled to open in September 2011, the incubator will provide 10 offices, between 100 and 150 square feet, for startups and small companies looking for a platform to grow their business in the heart of the city. By including industry innovators alongside students, the college hopes to create an environment that helps its learners experience real-world engagement to better prepare them for future employment and help emerging companies leverage the student resources to help them grow.
“The research we conducted on the feasibility of a video gaming incubator reveals a real need for more applied research and innovation – something our students and faculty have clearly been able to provide in other industries,” said Sado. “With the growth rate in the gaming sector in Ontario predicted to reach 31 per cent over the next three years, according to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, George Brown College is an a perfect position to provide a leadership role in nurturing the talent in this industry.”
As part of George Brown College’s effort to contribute to the expansion of the digital media industry in the city, the George Brown College School of Design will take on the leadership of Digifest, a Toronto-based international festival celebrating innovation and digital creativity that was previously managed by the Design Exchange. The festival will run from October 26 to 30 and will be held in central locations throughout the city.
Today’s announcements are based on a feasibility study conducted by George Brown and funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the City of Toronto. The research conducted by the college and its partners uncovered a need for a video gaming incubator, which would provide:
- Improved access to video gaming technology for small businesses and start-ups
- ffice space in the downtown core, helping to create a gaming community within the city
- nd applied research and field placement opportunities for George Brown College video game design and development students
“An innovative economy requires planning and support that builds on four strategic pillars – infrastructure, a well trained workforce, knowledge and expertise, and strong partnerships,” said Councillor Shelley Carroll, City of Toronto (Ward 33 Don Valley East), and Vice Chair, Economic Development Committee. “The new video game incubator at George Brown College will support these pillars and accelerate the growth and development of the digital media cluster in the City of Toronto.”
“As a long-time supporter of the digital, interactive media industry in Ontario, OMDC has had a keen interest in the video game programs George Brown College has been delivering and the strong relationships the college has with its industry partners,” added Karen Thorne-Stone, President and CEO of OMDC. “We felt it was important to fund this research that added to our understanding of the needs of the video gaming community. We are excited that George Brown College has taken a leadership role in addressing the study’s recommendations. This will enhance the vibrancy of the video gaming cluster in Ontario.”
The introduction of the gaming incubator coincides with the addition of approximately 310 students in the video game design and development programs at George Brown College over the last three years. Once renovations are complete this summer, the video game design students and the businesses using the incubator will have access to industry leading facilities, including development kits for major video game consoles, hand-held devices and other peripherals and a three-dimensional scanner and printer. This technology will be introduced to the incubator a short while after its launch.