The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), an Australian educator focused on the game development and the digital art industries, will open its first U.S. classroom in Seattle next year.
Seattle AIE classes will begin in June of 2011. The project is expected to bring 125 jobs to the city in the next four years.
Established in 1996, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment offers specialized training in game design and digital art creation, and is accredited and recognized through the Australian Qualifications Framework. The AIE currently operates campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra, Australia.
The AIE additionally founded the annual Australian Games Developers Conference in 1999, and organized Australia's first academic and secondary schools summits on games education in 2005.
"We evaluated several cities in the West Coast and selected Seattle because of the depth of talented game studios, the deep creative and entrepreneurial talent that exists in this city," said AIE president John Demargheriti. "The potential to work in partnership with a number of organizations who, like us, are also not-for-profit, and want to make a difference."
Redmond is already home to a number of game development-focused schools, including Nintendo-affiliated Digipen, which moved to a larger campus
earlier this year.
But Chris Earhardt, a former Digipen teacher and head of AIE, says he doesn't see the new campus as competition to Digipen, which graduates 300 students per year. "We're a boutique operation, not a huge facility," he told the Seattle Times