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Researcher Espen Aarseth wins $2.3M grant to create a theory of games

The European Research Council has awarded a €2 million grant to noted game researcher Espen Aarseth to fund his five-year effort to "develop and quality-assure some basic concepts for game analysis."

The European Union's European Research Council has awarded a €2 million (roughly $2.3 million USD) Advanced Grant to Norwegian video game researcher Espen Aarseth (pictured) to help fund a five-year effort to "develop and quality-assure some basic concepts for game analysis."

It's notable that an experienced game researcher and educator has won one of the ERC's Advanced Grants, which require a decade of "significant achievement" to qualify and are meant for proven independent research leaders to "pursue ground-breaking, high-risk projects" in Europe.

"Just as we need models for analyzing literature and cinema, we need models for analyzing games," Aarseth stated in a press release confirming the award. "We are going to develop and quality-assure some basic concepts for game analysis that can be used for instance in research and education. Today there are no large, sweeping theories drawing on a combination of different approaches and disciplines."

Aarseth, of course, has been an active member of the game industry since the '90s, having written and spoken at length about game studies and the nature of game design. His research project, Making Sense of Games, is expected to get underway in November at the IT University of Copenhagen, where he currently serves as an assistant professor.

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