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PlayStation®First, Academy of Interactive Entertainment and game studio Nnooo to train next wave of Indies with new academic development partnership 

27 October 2015 – Sydney, Australia: PlayStation®First and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is set to give a substantial boost to the Australian video game industry through their partnership with Australian game studio Nnooo, which will work to identify and fast track talented student teams for publishing under the PlayStation First programme.

In its first united showcase in Australia, PlayStation First, AIE and Nnooo will be presenting on the PlayStation stand at the upcoming PAX expo in Melbourne.

The PlayStation First stand at PAX will have eight student creators showcasing and providing demos of the current Australian games currently in development, including:

PlayStation First will also be introducing PIECEFALL to Australian audiences – the first PlayStation®4  (PS4) student game from the PlayStation First program developed by students from Sheffield Hallam University.

The only programme of its kind in Australia, the PlayStation First partnership with AIE and Nnooo provides students with the opportunity to be supported in an entrepreneurial setting while getting access to the required training and tools to begin developing products commercially. Students will gain the skills to create games for the PS4 system with the opportunity to publish their games under Nnooo, on the PlayStation Network.

The support of higher education programs for students interested in creating videogames and digital entertainment licences is expected to positively affect the video games industry in Australia – a crucial step forward for the burgeoning Australian video games industry.

The new arrangement also provides students with access to full PlayStation software (SDK) and the development hardware for teaching purposes in computer programming, software development and game design.

Head of PlayStation First, Dr Maria Stukoff says:

“Today’s students are the next generation of game developers, and partnering them with an established and respected developer and publisher like Nnooo will help drive exciting new titles coming out of Australia. Through sharing knowledge, mentorship, equipment and the best opportunities for exposure, PlayStation First aims to give students the chance to cut their teeth on console game development early in their career.”

Nic Watt, Founder and Creative Director of Nnooo and a driving force behind the partnership in Australia says:

“We’re excited and proud to partner with the PlayStation First programme and AIE. It fits perfectly with our stated goal to foster the growth of console game development in Australia.

“Following the recent senate enquiry into the Australian video game industry, programmes like PlayStation First signals a renewed optimism in gaming. As a studio, we are laser focussed on finding, nurturing and guiding Australian talent to really excel – we want the industry to band together, support each other and help our raw talent become the developers of tomorrow.”

Through the PlayStation First partnership, AIE and Nnooo have acquired PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita developer tools; the same professional hardware used by global AAA studios like Naughty Dog (The Last of Us, Uncharted), and Media Molecule (Little Big Planet, Tearaway Unfolded).

Neil Boyd, Director of Business Development at AIE says: Working directly with PlayStation First gives AIE students access to equipment and experience you can’t get anywhere else in Australia right now. This give students an advantage to leverage their games across the most popular game platforms whether establishing their own studio or seeking a career in games industry.”

AIE game development students in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide have access to PS4 development kits. PlayStation is currently developing plans to roll this out across Australia.

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Click here to find PlayStation®First on the web. 

More detail on PAX Australia can be found here. PAX runs from 30 October to 1 November at the Melbourne Convention Centre. 

Dr. Maria Stukoff biography

Born, raised and educated in Australia, Maria Stukoff is the driving force and head of PlayStation®First – Sony Computer Entertainment’s Academic Game Development Programme. She is known as the walking, talking vindication of PlayStation’s exciting student development scene, inspiring and skilling up the next wave of PlayStation-savvy developers.

With over twelve years in the video game industry and hands-on experience in game development, Maria’s passion for digital innovation has transformed the academic world of games. Working with the best universities globally to set up PlayStation®3, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®Vita teaching labs and studio incubators, Maria helps put PlayStation development tools directly into the hands of student developers and enables student teams to set up their own companies with opportunities to publish commercial IP on PSN.

Maria’s success in transforming game education came out of academic pursuits, and has been recognised through honorary awards and industry nominations, including: a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University for research into mobile games and technologies; an honorary Doctorate from Norwich University of the Arts in Game Design Education, and; holding a place on the UK Top 100 Women in Games for consecutive years.

Maria has an extensive background in digital media production and interaction design, and has taught internationally in Australia, Thailand, Canada and the UK. A frequent speaker at schools, universities and conferences, Maria champions game development and interaction design, actively taking part in shaping the future of game development education.

About Nnooo

Nnooo is a Sydney based game developer and publisher established in 2006 by Nic Watt, a former lead designer at Electronic Arts in London. The company’s most recent game was the award-winning and critically acclaimed escapeVektor for PlayStation®Vita and Nintendo 3DS™. Nnooo published Cubemen 2, the 3 Sprockets’ Steam and iOS hit game, on Wii U making it the first indie title on any Nintendo platform to offer both in-game cross-platform multiplayer and cross-platform user generated content. Nnooo’s next game will be Blast ‘Em Bunnies, an endless bunny shooter for multiple platforms, including PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®Vita.

About AIE

Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is Australia’s most awarded 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator. Created as a non-profit organisation to grow the creative digital sector, AIE pioneered the development of specialist game qualifications and continues to innovate through industry partnerships and dynamic teaching. AIE courses are practical, career-focused and delivered by industry experienced teachers in a seriously fun and creatively-demanding studio environment. AIE Graduates are working in most of the top creative studios in Australia and around the world including Animal Logic, Firemint EA, Halfbrick, Weta Digital and Bioware.

About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Ltd

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PlayStation®4 (PS4®) computer entertainment system, PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) portable entertainment system, PlayStation®3 (PS3®) computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system and PSN software and hardware in 109 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE has revolutionised home entertainment since they launched PlayStation® in 1994. PlayStation®4 redefines rich and immersive gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, intelligent personalisation and deeply integrated social capabilities. PS Vita is an ultimate portable entertainment system that offers a revolutionary combination of rich gaming and social connectivity within a real world context. PS3® is an advanced computer system, incorporating the powerful Cell Broadband Engine and RSX processors. PSP® is a handheld entertainment system that allows users to enjoy 3D games with high-quality full-motion video and high-fidelity stereo audio. SCEE also delivers the PlayStation® experience to open operating systems through PlayStation®Mobile, a cross device platform. SCEE also develops, publishes, markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories.

More information about PlayStation® products can be found at

PlayStation®, PS4, PS3, PS2, PSP, and DUALSHOCK are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

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