Students at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment have gained exclusive access to powerful software creation tools as part of an educational partnership with Sony.
The Playstation First Academic Partnership Programme, which launched last week, saw six development kits for the PS Vita handheld console distributed among AIE's three campuses.
AIE Canberra communication co-ordinator Craig Brown said the Playstation First program would be a “huge benefit” to students, particularly those in its incubator course for small-scale, indie game development.
“Sony's been at the front of pushing indie developers, they've recently had a great string of independent games on their Playstation Network, and for AIE students to be able to be a part of that is really great,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said games developed by AIE students with the PS Vita kit could potentially be uploaded to the Playstation Network for an international audience to play.
“A lot of the incubator students are really excited for the opportunity, because the Vita's market at the moment isn't flooded with games, so there's a really great opportunity for them to stand out – not just within Australia, but also the world,” he said.
AIE would eventually introduce the development kits into its advanced diploma level courses, Mr Brown said.
“It's an ongoing thing – while in this first year, the incubator students will be the main focus, as soon as we've had more time to explore and look at how it can join our existing courses, we'll go from there,” he said.
Mr Brown said despite the console-specific nature of the kits, the skills that students learned were transferable and would augment the academy's current software tools.
“This will just give them an additional platform to work with, rather than requiring us to only teach our students Playstation development,” he said.
While it was a case of “fingers crossed”, Mr Brown hoped the partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment would eventually give the AIE access to development kits for the upcoming Playstation 4 console.
“I wouldn't want to jump the gun, especially seeing how some of the biggest developers in the world are only just getting their hands on the kits,” he said. “But it's definitely something we would love to explore.”