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Ontario can become world centre of excellence for games - Dyack

Silicon Knights CEO reveals ambitious plans for Institute of the Eighth Art, a collaboration of government, academia and industry

Silicon Knights president Denis Dyack has revealed to GamesIndustry.biz ambitious plans to create a videogame institute that will house education, practical learning and true industry experience in one location.

And he believes that such a collaboration could help the Canadian region of Ontario become a "world centre of excellence" for the videogame business and create top tier talent for the industry.

"We're putting together plans for something called the Institute of the Eighth Art," revealed Dyack, in an exclusive interview published today. "We want to create an institute here that's a combination of companies like Silicon Knights, Niagara College and Brock University all in a co-op program where we're all in the same complex or campus so that people live and breathe making videogames and other forms of non-linear creations.

"So imagine a place where not only will you be instructed about how to make videogames, but you would have people in the industry teaching you."

Although in its early stages, Dyack and partners have already met up with government officials to discuss the idea, and he hopes it could become a reality in as little as two years' time. The project appeals to the Ontario officials as it covers all three pillars of recent thinking - government, industry and academia together - the same forward-looking attitude that has led to the recent CAD 263 million investment in Ubisoft's 800-person studio for the region.

"This builds upon that whole plan," offered Dyack. "I would love to see it become a world centre of excellence for videogames. We'd have a campus of maybe [800] along with university and college professors, all teaching students and everyone in a very different environment."

The developer already works closely with local education, which in turn see collaboration as a way of staying current in the fast-moving games and technology market, and sees this as the next logical step in fostering world-class game creators.

"We can bring in these co-ops that are working on real games, you can graduate out of these programmes with the combination of a university degree, a college diploma and actually have a game on your resume," he added.

The full interview with Denis Dyack, where he also discusses the struggles of the last 18 months, can be read here.

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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