Unlocking the benefits of gaming for society

We're exploring the benefits of digital games in society and producing leaders in game design and development, through two pioneering programmes.

© John Houlihan

Led by Professor Peter Cowling, from the Department of Computer Science and member of the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCSSA), the new ventures will help shape and influence the UK gaming industry


The New Economic Models and Opportunities for digital Games (NEMOG) project is a £1.2 million groundbreaking project that aims to bring the UK digital games industry closer to scientists, teachers and healthcare workers - harnessing their ingenuity and innovation to contribute to advances in science and society.

Researchers from York, Cass Business School, part of City University London and Durham University Business School will work with games companies and industry network associations to explore ways to promote the production of more games with a social and scientific purpose.

Funded jointly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council, NEMOG has an advisory board reflecting the support of more than a dozen games companies and nine creative industries network organisations.

Researchers will investigate sustainable business models for digital games, particularly those with scientific and social goals. This will help to guide how businesses can start up and grow to develop a new generation of games with the potential to improve society.

They will also build simulation models to investigate what might happen if, for example, Government policy were to encourage the development of games with scientific and social benefits.

Principal investigator Professor Peter Cowling said: "The numbers of games sold and the numbers of game hours played mean that we only need to persuade a small fraction of the games industry to consider the potential for social and scientific benefit to achieve a massive benefit for society. Potentially this will start a movement that will lead to mainstream distribution of games aimed at scientific and social benefits."


In parallel to NEMOG, we're leading a £12.5m venture to train the next generation of researchers, designers, developers and entrepreneurs of digital games  at The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence (IGGI).

IGGI is a collaboration between the universities of York and Essex, Goldsmiths College, London and 60 representatives from the world-leading UK games industry, networks and user groups.

IGGI postgraduate students will harness the potential of digital games to capture information about human behaviour on an unprecedented scale, providing powerful new scientific tools.

They will investigate new research questions arising from the massive growth of digital games, in areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and interactivity, as well as creating more fun and profitable games, delivering an internationally distinctive and research-aware UK games industry.

Professor Peter Cowling, who leads the consortium which will deliver the four year PhD programme, said: "IGGI will revolutionise the link between research and industry in a vibrant but currently disjointed field, building on mutually productive research and recruitment links through direct engagement between PhD students and the UK games industry."

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IGGI will revolutionise the link between research and industry.”

Professor Peter Cowling
Department of Computer Science
Featured researcher
Professor Peter Cowling

Professor Peter Cowling

Well known internationally for his work on Artificial Intelligence,  he is based in the interdisciplinary York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis (YCCSA).

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