The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Singapore Media Development Authority have announced an agreement to establish the Singapore-MIT International Game Lab (SMIGL). The SMIGL initiative will allow students and researchers from Singapore to collaborate with MIT researchers and game industry professionals in international research projects.
Outcomes planned for SMIGL’s initial period include development of both an academic and a high-impact research program, publication of peer-reviewed research papers and production of publicly distributable digital games. However, the long term goal of the new initiative, according to SMIGL representatives, will be to “further digital game research globally, develop world-class academic programs in game technology, and establish Singapore as a vital node in the international game industry.”
Beyond technology development, representatives also note that SMIGL will engage in research concerning the “artistic, creative, business and social aspects of games.” The organization will also provide Singapore game researchers and professionals with access to new technologies, as well as the latest conceptual developments and links to international game development and research communities.
The collaboration, which will include offices both in Singapore and at MIT, will be co-directed by the directors of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program (CMS), Henry Jenkins, DeFlorez Professor of Humanities, and William Uricchio, professor of comparative media studies. Both Jenkins and Uricchio will also serve as the leading investigators in the collaboration.
Uricchio described SMIGL as a “unique chance to reflect on games and to push them in new and unexpected directions, whether in terms of emerging technologies and interfaces, diverse cultural vocabularies, or important niches that have simply been neglected in the rush to seize the largest market share.”
Jenkins, who will also deliver the keynote address at this year's Serious Games Summit D.C., has spent much of his career studying media and the way people incorporate it into their lives. “The Singapore-MIT International Game Lab collaboration will provide a strong catalyst for innovation by bringing together students, industry leaders and faculty from very different cultures and backgrounds to work together and to conduct research that could have a great impact on the international game industry,” he added.