24 February 2008

Sony Scholarship

Wed Feb 20, 7:37 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) said Wednesday it is luring women into video game design with a 10,000-dollar scholarship and paid internships.

"We are under-represented," Devra Pransky of SOE told AFP after the announcement of the scholarship at a major Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

"Video game making is male dominated and we need to change that."

A Sony-sponsored survey in January of female students enrolled in game design and programming at The Art Institutes showed that about half of those surveyed think more women would play video games designed by women.

The perception of the video game industry being a male bastion deters women from getting into the field, those surveyed agreed.

"It is a misdirection that women don't like video games," said SOE publicist Taina Rodriguez, who sported a lime green t-shirt with the acronym G.I.R.L. -- Gamers In Real Life.

"If more women make games, then more women will play games and get excited about making games. We want to strengthen that cycle."

Students enrolled in The Art Institutes schools can begin applying for the SOE scholarship in April. The winner will get 10,000 dollars for tuition and a paid internship at an SOE studio.

The Art Institutes has 35 campuses in the United States and offers online education.

"I love games, but I'm a bit old school," said Niki Dominguez of The Art Institute of California in San Diego. "I'm an Atari fan."

She also boasts a nine handicap playing golf on Nintendo's Wii video game console.

Students enrolled in accredited universities or trade schools can also apply for SOE internships.

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