Experts team up for games in the East

September 21, 2001

A computer games specialist from the University of Abertay Dundee is to head a mission to investigate Japanese expertise in the field.

Jim TerKeurst, lecturer in computer arts, will lead a team that will include a business representative, a games producer, a programmer, an artist and a music specialist.

He praised the British embassy in Tokyo, which helped to arrange the visit with support from the Department of Trade and Industry's international technology service, for ensuring contact with "some of the most important Japanese console manufacturers and games software developers".

Dr TerKeurst said the team aimed to learn about best practice in Japanese games development, an area in which Japan is a world leader. He is also research and business development manager for Abertay's International Centre for Computer Games and Virtual Entertainment (Iccave), but stressed he was leading the mission as an academic.

"There have been successful economic missions to Japan in the past, but this is a very different approach, attempting to build understanding," he said. "This is not a business mission, but about learning from one another, and we hope it gives the Japanese the chance to see our expertise.

"It will also provide material for our students to better understand (business) practices, not just in the UK," he said. "In a fast-moving field such as computer games, knowledge is the most important commodity we have."

The United Kingdom has the third largest market for games after the United States and Japan, worth than £934 million in 2000.

E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander, during a visit to Iccave earlier this month, unveiled plans for a major competitiveness analysis of the UK computer industry, leading to an action plan for industry and the government.

"Our developers here are renowned for their creativity, innovation and originality," he said. "If the industry is to enjoy long-term success, we must make an effort to develop best practice across industry and identify opportunities for new markets."

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