The Malta Independent 12 November 2019, Tuesday

New premises of the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta

Friday, 4 October 2019, 10:09 Last update: about 2 months ago

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri inaugurated the new premises of the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta.

During the inauguration, parliamentary secretary Schembri said that education is at the core of Malta's vision for Video Game Development and eSports. "The expansion of the Instiute for Digital Games to this new building is a step in the right direction for the University of Malta to continue to excel in the educational programmes provided at Post Grad M.Sc and Doctorate levels. I am honoured to be supporting such an institute which has faired number 17 for their game design programme on the Princeton Review, excelling in research and education in game design, game analysis and game technology."

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He reiterated government's commitment in supporting educational institutions offering game development courses with further investment and resources. "We want our students to have the best educational programmes to be able to develop their skills in game research, design and programming. In fact, in the coming weeks we shall be announcing another investment in the international certification for students in video-game programming," he continued.

Schembri commended the efforts being made by GamingMalta in such a short time, with Malta's first Game Development and eSports expo, Playcon happening over the next days.  He said that thousands of students would be attending for educational sessions at Playcon which will serve as a platform were the video game industry unites to showcase the games produced, the career opportunities in this sector and the employers present in Malta. 

Playcon, which is being organised at the MFCC between 3 and 6 October as part of the Malta Tech Week, will also feature eSports competitions, game experiences and digital entertainment.

Prof. Giorgios Yannakakis, Director of the Institute of Digital Games, said that government's vision for video game development and eSports complements the vision of the institute he leads. "As an Institute, our vision is to bolster research, game studies and Artificial Intelligence. We have grown in a span of six years from five academics to more than 20 academics and researchers. Today the institute has 30 students following an M.Sc Programme and seven others pursuing a Ph.D," said Prof. Yannakakis.

Prof. Alfred Vella, rector of the University of Malta, emphasised the importance for the University to keep working closely with the industry in order to create programmes that fit, not only today's needs but more crucially of the future. "When it comes to digital games, we have a world-class post-graduate research institute right here where we stand today. Digital games are not a single discipline and the institute works together with the departments throughout the whole University," said Prof. Vella.

Ivan Filletti, head of Operations and Business Development for Gaming Malta said that Malta is not just a centre or a hub for such industry, but a home. "We have a thirst for talent. We want to work closely with the sector to attract key talent to Malta. Creativity needs an infrastructure, an environment backed by government policies which will help hard-earned creative efforts come to light and succeed," he said.


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