U Expands Video Game Program to South Korea

(Courtesy of University of Utah Asia Campus)

(Courtesy of University of Utah Asia Campus)

By Carolyn Webber

(Courtesy of University of Utah Asia Campus)
(Courtesy of University of Utah Asia Campus)

As the gaming industry continues to grow, the U will expand its program in state, but more so overseas.

The U’s Asia Campus in South Korea will soon gain a new gaming center and offer a joint MBA with the masters of entertainment arts and engineering degree. Chris Wasden, executive director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation and professor of business, has played a major role in getting the gaming center underway.

The Center for Digital Gaming Research and Development in South Korea is an extension of Wasden’s Innovation Center in Utah. It teaches students skills about the Internet, simulation and gaming, while focusing on app and game development. The Korean center will also teach students about the therapeutic benefits and negative side-effects of gaming.

“There’s a lot of concern that bad games are addictive, and they create negative outcomes,” Wasden said.

The center’s research will use imaging technology to see what parts of the brain are involved when playing games and how that affects people physically and mentally.

Mark van Langeveld, director of the engineering track in the masters of entertainment arts and engineering, believes this program will be beneficial to both Korean and Utah students, as each bring in different viewpoints.

“Korea has a very strong game culture,” he said. “As students they bring in a total different perspective of games than what the rest of the world does.”

The center will be located in a building donated by the South Korean government, and the U is raising money to purchase imaging equipment, Wasden said.

He said the U is currently ranked number one for its entertainment arts and engineering program, but the industry is in high demand.

“The game industry is in the midst of radical change,” Wasden said, noting this is part of the reason the U decided to create this new joint master’s program.

Van Langeveld hopes people can better understand the value games can have in society. Part of the reason he thinks the program is growing is the lack of education in the past. This program helps to bridge skill gaps.

“It gives people who are artists and people who are engineers an outlet to create things that are unique, that are valuable, that help society in a way that is more creative,” he said. “Games do really a lot more than entertain.”

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