You could hardly think of two more disparate things than Oxford University and Grand Theft Auto IV. A venerable institution of learning and an ultra-violent crook game just don’t go together. Under the surface, however, it’s different.

In this case, very much under the surface. The Euphoria engine used for GTA IV was developed by two Oxford students, who formed a company for that purpose. And Oxford has a piece of that company. What is mindboggling is that it was research from the Zoology department that was used to create Euphoria. Zoology? Woof!

Since the engine is a licensed product, royalties have to be paid. How much? No one is saying. But given the popularity of GTA IV, the payout is likely to be quite nice. Any day now, we’ll be hearing about “record sales” for the game. It’s already the top seller in Britain. Yes, I think this is going to be a windfall for Oxford.

I wonder how the university is holding up, given all the controversy about the game, the usual ranting and raving about “turning our kids into killers”, etc. Do they feel a little uncomfortable about making money from this? The article dances around that question.

Oxford to profit from GTA IV on cherwell.org