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MTVu, Cisco Partner To Fund Student, Serious Games

MTVu, Cisco Partner To Fund Student, Serious Games

April 21, 2006 | By Simon Carless

mtvU, MTV's 24-hour college TV network, and tech giant Cisco Systems have unveiled the first annual mtvU "Digital Incubator" development team -- ten student groups funded with $250,000 in grant money, and including multiple video game related projects.

The first "Digital Incubator" projects will premiere in May and be an integral part of mtvU's on-air, online, on campus and wireless programming for the next six months. The initiative is part of an ongoing effort to offer college students unlimited opportunities to create and program every aspect of mtvU on their terms.

Among the funded projects is Crates of Cash from the University of Denver, apparently a "multi-player, socially conscious online video game about the life of migrant farm workers." According to the creators of this 'serious game', the players are tasked with collecting fruit harvests as fast as they can, earning points for the quantity and quality of the produce. Crates Of Cash is designed to entertain, but also serve as social commentary, drawing attention to critical issues like immigration reform.

In addition, the Experimental Gaming Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, already popular, is being developed into an online gaming tournament populated with games developed and submitted by college students nationwide. The entries will be seeded into competitive brackets and advance based on number of plays and college students' votes.

Finally, the Georgia Institute of Technology has been funded to produce Slivers, an online video game, integrated with the 2006 mtvU Woodie Awards, which challenges users to match artists and music video "slivers" (silent clips less than 3 seconds in length). The game will be playable via mtvU Uber, mtvU wireless, and Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition PCs and Media Center Extenders including the Xbox 360.

"The student groups on our first Digital Incubator development team are pushing the boundaries of digital media and we're proud to hand over our network as a laboratory for their creative passion," said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU. "These digital pioneers will indelibly shape our broadband and multi-platform programming, and we look forward to working with our partners at Cisco to launch the students' works and careers."

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