The aim of GameBiz, a European interuniversity project, is to set up business incubators in university and higher education environments, in order to cultivate entrepreneurship before students finish their education. Recently, ‘A Space For Beautiful Mistakes’ has been published, a document that sums up the essence of this project and in which the School of New Interactive Technologies (Escola de Noves Tecnologies Interactives – ENTI-UB), the Video Games University is participating.
Throughout its pages this publication addresses several issues related to the video games sector and university studies in this field. Mainly it highlights the need for diversification in this industry, i.e. not only is the theme of the design important, but also the need to bear in mind marketing and business aspects. In this sense, one should highlight the progressive integration of advertising in video games. There is an increasing commitment to incorporating this element subtly into the games. Such as, for example, when you complete a level and take advantage of the moment to relax. As for the labour market, it should be stressed that the sector is currently already beginning to be saturated with new professionals. For this reason, entrepreneurship in this field is becoming increasingly relevant. ‘A Space For Beautiful Mistakes’ highlights the example of Keimpe de Heer, head of studies at HKU, who is striving to promote the entrepreneur spirit among his students.
As for the academic field, broadly speaking, it can be seen that many universities continue to promote an academic system that is not very innovative. Although, it is also said that some centres are also developing curricula focused on training students in entrepreneurship; providing them with the knowledge they need to be able to create a business plan; developing it during the last academic year and subsequently assessing the capacity of this business. In this context, the academic director of ENTI-UB, Òscar Garcia Pañella comments: ‘you can think of the university as one of the retro games consoles, referring to the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo 64 consoles. In the cartridge, you can have traditional games, traditional university courses, or you can put in new experiences or innovative courses, but both must deliver what the console, in this case the university, wants’. Pañella also adds: ‘the university implants some theories and a thought. You should therefore think of the university as that which already functions, introducing new concepts and business models within the fields that are already functional’.
It should be noted that ENTI-UB promotes entrepreneurship via its ENTI PRO area: a project that aims to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of the fourth year students from the same university. This initiative involves carrying out the pre-incubation of real projects in a context of an “entrepreneurship seed”. Thus, in ENTI-UB, the students develop their first commercial video game. I.e. they will create a prototype that will allow them to speed up their progress and find funding to grow professionally, by accessing companies and institutions. In this same line, ‘A Space For Beautiful Mistakes’ the example of the University of Bournemouth is also cited for promoting the entrepreneurship of its students. This centre applies a system that consists of a procedure, in which the students develop their functional business proposal for three years. Throughout this process, they also learn issues related to the company’s accounting and administrative tasks.
This review of the GameBiz project also stresses the fact that Serious Games are one of the trends that will become more powerful in the field of video games. Specifically, it refers to the example of a game applied to people who suffer from dementia, developed by the Delft University of Technology and VU in Amsterdam (the Netherlands). The aim of this piece is to improve the life of patients and to facilitate the work of caregivers, since it is an autonomous game.
Find out about the essence of the GameBiz project in detail by reading the publication: ‘A Space For Beautiful Mistakes’.