Manchester Metropolitan University

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PS3 reality leap is “issue for society” – MMU lecturer

PLAYSTATION 3 is set to break new boundaries in computer graphics realism when it goes on sale next spring.

Twice as powerful as the new Xbox 360 and ten times more powerful than most home computers, the Sony console is exciting but also raises questions about the virtual future and dangers to youngsters.

“Gamers will literally be able to dive into the realistic world seen in big-screen movies and experience things in real-time,” Sony says. Could this mean simply more realistic displays of bloody violence, sex and voyeurism?

Dr Atif Waraich, senior lecturer in computing at MMU, says the PS3 will bring a big leap forward in graphics and realism.

“That’s a real issue when you consider that, despite classification, children will still be playing those games.

“Until now we have been protected by the limitations of technology, but there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that playing games modifies behaviour.

Dr Waraich, an expert in human-computer interaction, told the Manchester Evening News in an interview: “The US military carried out a study in which they discovered that combatants actually shot to miss when they made it onto the battlefield because human nature dictates that we really don’t like killing people. The way they countered that was to get soldiers to play computer games.

The games industry has always defended itself by saying that people could be equally influenced by a film. That has been a valid argument – until now.”

The games industry is worth £2bn per year in the UK and it is predicted by 2007 the global market will be worth £21.1bn.

"There is no doubting the popularity of these systems. Video gaming is now the fastest growing sector of the entertainment industry," added Dr Waraich.

For more information about MMU’s BSc (Hons) degree course in Computer Games Technology, contact 0161 247 1500 or docmadmin@mmu.ac.uk

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