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Unique partnership brings top games contest to London and South East England

18 April 2007

Dare to be Digital 2007 has announced the establishment of a London and South East host centre, reinforcing its status as the UK's premier computer games design competition for students. The centre will be hosted by games giant Electronic Arts' UK studio in Guildford.

The expansion of Dare to be Digital into London and the South East has come about through a unique partnership involving a UK university, a leading interactive entertainment software company, and public sector bodies in and around London.

In a groundbreaking collaboration the University of Abertay Dundee - originator of Dare to be Digital - is joining forces with the world's leading interactive entertainment company Electronic Arts, the London Development Agency, South East Media Network (SEMN) and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) to run the host centre, with support from computer-chip manufacturer AMD.

Four teams of five students each will be selected to spend the first nine weeks of the 10-week competition (from June to August) based in Electronic Arts' UK studio in Guildford.

Each team will design and build a fully functioning prototype of their video game idea, receiving financial support and mentoring from games developers in the South East while they are in the competition. The deadline for applications for places in the London and South East centre is 7 May.

The London and South East centre is the third of three host centres announced for this year's contest, the others being in Dundee and Belfast.

Dare to be Digital 2007 has assembled an impressive list of sponsors, including Electronic Arts, AMD, Denki, NCR, Tiga, the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council, the Digital Hub in Dublin and Belfast City Council with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment's Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme and Intertrade Ireland.

In the eight years since it was launched by Abertay University, Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-level talent, with many contestants going on to set up their own development companies or being snapped up by major international games companies such as Rockstar North, Lionhead, Microsoft and Electronic Arts.

Richard Leinfellner, a Vice President at EA, commented: "Dare to be Digital represents a unique model for showcasing young talent to the UK games industry. It has acted as a much needed incubator for new talent and one which EA has been proud to be associated with for a number of years.

"As industry leaders, we are committed to stimulating innovation in game making and encouraging the next generation of talent in the UK. The Dare model of setting teams up to deliver a real game prototype in 10 weeks is similar to the process we go through when getting games into production. It promotes teamwork and is very much in keeping with many of our own values."

Tom Campbell, head of creative industries at the LDA said: "There's a great pool of undiscovered talent within London's universities and colleges. Dare is fantastic at discovering and fostering talent and helping aspiring game developers rise to the surface. The LDA is proud to support the first Southern heat and we hope the eventual winning team originates from the London region!"

Paul Durrant, Dare to be Digital project director at Abertay University, commented: "This is truly exciting news. The teams that take part in Dare in London and the South East will provide a valuable local talent pool and potential start-up business to the region. "

In the 10th week of the competition, the teams will travel to Edinburgh to join two teams from north and south Ireland, four from Scotland and two international teams from China and India.

The teams will display their prototypes in "Dare ProtoPlay", a three-day showcase of all the teams' work, scheduled to take place alongside the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, now established as one of the world's foremost cultural festivals for the games and interactive entertainment business. Dare ProtoPlay, to be held on 12-14 August at Our Dynamic Earth, will enable the general public and industry experts to not only play the games, but also vote for them as well.

In addition to showcasing the games, Dare ProtoPlay will play a big role in games education, helping parents and children understand the "behind-the-scenes" features in games creation. They also have the chance to take part in the games creation process itself.

Finally, on 16 August, all the teams will gather in Dundee to have their talents and achievements recognised in the Dare to be Digital Awards Ceremony.

(Ends)

NOTES FOR EDITORS

Dare to be Digital was first piloted among computer games students at Abertay in 1999. The following year, the first full competition was run by a partnership of the University of Abertay Dundee, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City.

In previous years, Dare to be Digital took place entirely in Dundee, but often including teams from the rest of the UK and overseas. Abertay University's decision to almost double the number of contestants for 2007 lead to the setting up of the regional host centres.

About Electronic Arts

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS, EA, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO. In fiscal 2006, EA posted revenue of $2.95 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at <http://info.ea.com/>.

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