Pittsburgh Powerhouses of XR Gaming

“The Gong” at Schell Games



This February I’ve been fortunate to visit two powerhouses in the Pittsburgh XR community, the Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and Schell Games, situated on opposite banks of the Monongahela River.

These forays into local engines of creativity have given rise to some reflection. I’m reminded  that while some people–myself included–will loudly insist that XR is not just for gaming, the gaming and entertainment industries have played an important role in the development of XR for industry and education, and will continue to do so.


View of the Monongahela from the Entertainment Technology Center

Much of the technology driving the development of VR and AR came out of the gaming industry. After all, some of the most important XR tools, Unity and Unreal Engine, started out as game development platforms. As the platforms began to be adopted for other uses, Unity and Unreal responded by enhancing features and incorporating updates that lend themselves to industrial and educational applications.

And let’s not forget the value of gamification for learning and retention, whether in education or training in a work setting. Learning that is fun and tied to rewards is simply more engaging, and gamification c

The Welcome Wall at the CMU Entertainment Technology Center

ontributes to the astonishing capacity XR has to increase learning and retention.

Furthermore, the role that institutions like the ETC and Schell Games play in training developers and giving them experience is absolutely key in this new and rapidly growing industry. Those whose skills are fostered at places like the ETC and Schell will help make the XR tools of tomorrow. Who knows what exciting new directions they will take us? I can’t wait to see.