MIT teams up with Singaporean games lab

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has teamed up with the Singapore Media Development Authority to establish the Singapore-MIT International Game Lab (SMIGL).

The alliance aims 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.

The Lab will be headed up by Henry Jenkins and William Uricchio, both directors of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program, and will have offices both in Singapore and at the Boston academic institution.

SMIGL aims to push game research and the industry in new directions. Uricchio said it would "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".

The SMIGL initiative will enable students and researchers from Singapore to collaborate with MIT researchers and game industry professionals in international research projects. The Lab will also conduct research on the artistic, creative, business and social aspects of games.

The partnership is another sign that gaming is now reaching wider audiences than ever before. In Japan, more and more of the country's rapidly growing older population are turning to mathematical computer games as a way to keep them active and alert for longer. Game makers have responded with new products designed to train people's brains. The games, it is claimed by scientists, will help delay the onset of dementia. Millions have been sold so far in Japan, and Europe is the next target.

This software, designed to stimulate the grey matter and keep fingers nimble, aims to entertain a new generation while keeping them healthy and active.

A spokesperson for video game company Namco said: "The computer game industry for the elderly is a growing market for us."

No one has yet proved beyond any doubt that playing computer games prolongs your brain's ability to work effectively, but most scientists agree it cannot do any harm to learn a new skill, and to keep your joints active.

The research resulting from the SMIGL collaboration will expand the ways in which the Singapore game industry builds and develops future products. It also aims to identify unique genres and aesthetics that are relevant to the Singapore game industry. In addition, according to the Media Development Authority, it will enhance the country's competitive advantage in areas such as education and tourism.