In the dynamic world of gaming, practical experience and networking opportunities are invaluable for aspiring game developers. Staffordshire University London’s (SUL) gaming students recently had a unique chance to immerse themselves in the gaming industry at the WASD x IGN event held over three days.
WASD x IGN is renowned for bringing together gamers, developers, and industry leaders under one roof. The exhibition allowed attendees to play pre-release games from powerhouse studios and indies on both consoles and PC, meet content creators, along with seminars featuring career advice talks from key figures in the gaming industry. Staffordshire University London recognised the potential of the event as a learning opportunity and made it possible for their gaming students to participate.
Students had the unique privilege of volunteering with the gaming studios at WASD x IGN. This hands-on experience allowed them to gain insight into the inner workings of the gaming industry with gaming studios such as 505 Games, Ubisoft, Sega, and Mayhem Games, along with publishers such as PlayStation and Bandai Namco in attendance. The purpose was to establish valuable connections by meeting industry professionals and exchange ideas.
Jamie Dawson, Year 2, Computer Games Design student who volunteered with Kepler Interactive thoroughly enjoyed his experience volunteering at WASD x IGN. Jamie said, “Volunteering at WASD has helped improve my networking skills and given me an insight into the industry outside of the university. By talking directly with developers and publishers has provided me with real examples of their struggles and how they had overcome them, as well as tips on how to get into the industry. WASD has been beneficial to me, and what I've learnt will help during my final year and post-graduation."
Similarly, Gwen Maxwell, Year 2, Computer Games Design student who volunteered with Whitethorn Games, reiterated, “It’s definitely worth volunteering at the event, it was a lot of fun getting to know developers who were showcasing their games and it allowed us to get a better insight into the industry. If you're looking to start developing a game independently after university, it is a great place to make some connections with like-minded people who were once in your position”.
Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design, Leigh Evans has regularly attended WASD with his students yearly, and he has seen first-hand the benefits that it can provide. Leigh stated, "Attending industry events like WASD x IGN is an essential part of a gaming student's education. It offers the chance to network with professionals of all levels in the gaming field, from character artists to level designers and more. It also offers the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and technologies along with developing insider knowledge from people who are working in the industry; it’s a great way to feel inspired and motivated to pursue your dreams of a career in gaming.”
Leigh also believes that attending industry events is important because it helps students to see what it's really like to work in the gaming industry. "By attending events like WASD x IGN, students get a realistic look at what it takes to be successful," he added. "Students can see the hard work and dedication that goes into making games, and they get a better understanding of the different career paths that are available to them."
Leigh encourages all gaming students to attend industry events whenever possible. "It's an investment in your future" he said. "The connections that students make and the knowledge you gain will be invaluable as you start your career."
Staffordshire University London students at the WASD x IGN has left a lasting impact on their educational and career paths. Many of them are now better equipped to pursue career opportunities in the gaming industry, armed with practical experience and an expanded network. The event also strengthened the university's commitment to providing its students with real-world opportunities by bridging the gap between academia and industry by helping Staffordshire University London students thrive in a competitive job market.
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