Students pitch gaming ideas to Dragons’ Den-style panel

(left to right) Ant Cain, computer games design lecturer, Stephen Hey, marketing director at Chillingo, and Matty McGrory, programme leader for NextGen at Sunderland College, with students in the NextGen studio.
(left to right) Ant Cain, computer games design lecturer, Stephen Hey, marketing director at Chillingo, and Matty McGrory, programme leader for NextGen at Sunderland College, with students in the NextGen studio.
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Creative Sunderland College students got to pitch games ideas to a marketing guru.

Stephen Hey, marketing director at Chillingo, a leading games publisher owned by EA, led a Dragon’s Den-style masterclass with students on a pioneering new course at the college.

Stephen has been involved in the interactive entertainment industry for more than 20 years and has been instrumental in launching games such as Call of Duty, Star Wars Lego, Battle Copters, Worms and the hit mobile game Iron Force.

He visited the college’s NextGen studio to speak to students about his career and to listen to their pitches.

Game ideas included everything from deadly jelly cube experiments and robotic spiders through to medieval knights and a horror puzzle set in a hospital.

Stephen said: “The facility at Sunderland College was really impressive, but the work of the students was even more so. I saw several games that I really wanted to play more and others that had real potential.

“The attitude of the students was really commercial, which meant the game concepts in development were not only creative, but were being made with real consumers in mind.”

The students who took part in the masterclass are studying the new course, NextGen Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills, developed in partnership with Sony, Microsoft and Ubisoft Reflections.

Matty McGrory, programme leader for the NextGen Diploma, added: “Stephen’s first-hand knowledge of games development and the feedback he gave to the students will be a crucial factor in their skills and careers development.”