New video game major at UCSC

September 29, 2008 6:46:12 PM PDT
The lawsuit was filed against Sony in San Mateo County in 2005 by a former employee who argued that the company did not pay its hourly employees overtime wages when they worked late nights, weekends and sometimes national holidays, according to court documents. The company agreed in July 2007 to pay a settlement of $8.5 million to former and current employees for unpaid overtime between February 2001 and September 2007. However, Sony admitted no liability or wrongdoing in the settlement, according the Web site of prosecuting attorneys Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP. The UCSC computer game design major, established in 2006, received $457,909 from Sony because it was designated as a recipient of uncollected funds in the settlement, associate professor Jim Whitehead said. "It's great news for us," Whitehead said Friday. He had a lead role in the design of the major, according to the university. The funding will be "totally dedicated for undergrad scholarships for computer game design majors," Whitehead said. "Its very nice because a lot of funding is for graduate students, it's nice to have that amount for undergraduates." Whitehead said program coordinators want to use the funding to target strong students who are interested in the video game industry, and to use it for diversity recruiting as well. Developing interactive computer video games is a multi-billion-dollar industry and the Santa Cruz program prepares students to take jobs in the computer game industry, as well as giving them the option of pursuing graduate study in computer science, according to the school. The computer game design major is part of UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering.