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UK launches "Games London" to spotlight domestic industry

By Dan Pearson

UK launches "Games London" to spotlight domestic industry

Tue 19 Jan 2016 10:00am GMT / 5:00am EST / 2:00am PST
EventsEGX RezzedUKIE

1.2m investment includes launch of London Games Festival

The UK is launching a brand new programme to help promote and recognise Great Britain's contribution to the games industry, with the aim of making London "the games capital of the world."

Brought about by a collaboration between Ukie and Film London, the new venture will also receive funding of 1.2 million from the London Enterprise Panel and receive support from the London Mayor's Office. Over the course of three years, Games London hopes to encourage investment in the capital's industry and promote the use of the country's video game tax relief initiative, with the eventual aim of adding 10 million to the revenues of London's games developers. The initiative is being headed up by Michael French, with Andy Payne sitting as the organisation's chair.

"Through Games London we are supercharging an increasingly important sector for our economy, one that exemplifies the capital's reputation for creativity and innovation"

London Mayor Boris Johnson

"London is already a star player when it comes to games and interactive entertainment, but international competition is fierce and we need to ensure our city can compete with our global gaming rivals," said London Mayor Boris Johnson. "Through Games London we are supercharging an increasingly important sector for our economy, one that exemplifies the capital's reputation for creativity and innovation. From design to banking and civil engineering to film, games technology is being used in a host of different sectors. We are investing in a dynamic and constantly evolving industry to take London to another level as a world-leading capital for games and interactive entertainment."

Central to Games London is the London Games Festival, which will this year take place between April 1 and 10. As part of 15 events held at ten locations around the capital the festival will include Now Play This - a weekend long exhibition of games at Somerset House from April 1-3 - and the Games Finance Market, an investment-focused opportunity which will adopt a successful formula from the capital's Film Festival by marrying investment cash to projects. Furthering the links to London's film industry will be a series of talks held at the BFI on April 4. In addition, the Festival will also include pre-existing highlights on the London industry's calendar, including Gamer Network's EGX Rezzed.

1

Rezzed will occupy London's Tobacco Dock from April 7-9, putting many of the nation's most innovative gaming projects in the hands of thousands of its biggest gamers. As well as helping developers by making unreleased projects playable by the general public, Rezzed also features several in-depth public presentations and a dedicated careers advice area. Held in partnership with BAFTA, Rezzed's venue will also play host to BAFTA's prestigious games awards evening, a star-studded opportunity to celebrate the very best games and the most accomplished industry figures.

"We're delighted to return with London's biggest games show at the heart of London Games Festival," said show organiser David Lilley. "EGX Rezzed just proves what the UK videogames industry is capable of - creativity, brilliance and enthusiasm to meet gamers. EGX Rezzed is a mix of UK games culture. Under one roof you can find big console product alongside tiny indie projects, next to board games, next to the very latest in VR, next to a career fair and education section - all wrapped up with the BAFTA Games Awards. A lovely mix."

"Under one roof you can find big console product alongside tiny indie projects, next to board games, next to the very latest in VR, next to a career fair and education section - all wrapped up with the BAFTA Games Awards. A lovely mix"

Gamer Events MD David Lilley

"BAFTA is passionate about celebrating and promoting creative excellence in the art forms of the moving image, across film, TV and games," added Harvey Elliott, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee. "Our annual BAFTA Games Awards are very much a highlight of the achievements of the games industry, but that activity alone cannot showcase everything that the industry does. Games London allows us to further show the reach of the games industry within the UK and will help highlight the amazing creative talent that is thriving here.

"Outside of our awards program we will be running a showcase within Rezzed of the up-and-coming UK talent and games from the next generation of developers, and continue to support the creative industry through other programs such as BAFTA Young Game Designers which provides a platform to showcase the young game creators already forming through our schools, and BAFTA Crew for the rising talent who have taken their first few steps into the industry.

"Our role is to help show how the talent based here in the UK has impacted the games industry on a global stage, and highlight the reach and depth of the experiences that have been created on our shores. We have already been working to make the BAFTA Games Awards as accessible as possible including releasing a significant number of tickets for sale to the general public, and we will also be working with Games London to showcase the games industry within the broader UK industries and to global partners from overseas, reinforcing the talent and expertise that the UK has to offer."

Some of London's most prominent developers have also welcomed the news, giving their support to the celebrations. Miles Jacobson of SEGA's Sports Interactive was full of praise for the plans, pointing out that the event's positive ramifications will be felt well beyond the boundaries of the capital.

"There aren't many industries that the UK still sits at the top table for and I think it's great we're embracing and supporting it's growth"

Dan Gray, Studio Head, USTWO

"It's fantastic that the Greater London Authority have got behind the London Games Festival, a series of events that will benefit the whole video games sector in the UK," said Jacobson. "With a new B2B finance matchmaking event, lots of public facing events to show how great Britain is at making games, and a tie in with the award to win as a developer - even my Mum has heard of in the BAFTA games awards - it's going to really put the UK games industry in the spotlight, plus hopefully create lots of business opportunities and jobs for UK PLC."

Dan Gray, recently promoted to studio head at Monument Valley developer USTWO also praised the move and city's developers.

"It's hard to look past London for a place to do business in the games industry. It's the perfect bridge between the markets of Europe and North America, but it's also a hotbed of creative talent and an excellent top tier city to to attract overseas professionals to.

"There aren't many industries that the UK still sits at the top table for and I think it's great we're embracing and supporting its growth."

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7 Comments

Jon Rissik SVP & GM, Dovetail Games

9 6 0.7
Excellent news and congratulations to those from the industry involved in getting this off the ground. It would be great to finally crack this area as the UK industry has been looking for a flagship event since the days of ECTS. It will be interesting to see whether the early April date holds it back. Unless major devs & publishers build this event in as a milestone it may struggle to generate big news stories and real traction. Well done, regardless!

Posted:7 months ago

#1

Peter Ridgway Technical Art Director, Microsoft / Rare

2 11 5.5
Popular Comment
Whilst this is great to hear and a credit to all involved, I get a slight sinking of the shoulders due to this being "London" focused. A significant proportion of the games sector is not in London and actually has no reason to be based in London. Surely it would be better to promote the games sector as a UK wide endeavour, we are one of the only truly location independent industries. In that outside of recruitment issues - we can be based anywhere there is a good internet connection. Maybe its just reflective of everything being so London focused in the UK anyway.

Posted:7 months ago

#2

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

264 754 2.9
Surely it would be better to promote the games sector as a UK wide endeavor
That's all nice and pretty, but at the end of the day, a place to actually showcase the games, and hardware to the consumer/press needs to be chosen.
Personally, If I go to a festival or convention I like to have everything in one massive recreational centre and not spread around a city like it seems to be the case. For comparison sake, the most annoying thing - personally - about the Olympics is having to travel to different locations to watch different sports events, although it's reasonably understandable due to the sheer scale of each sports facilities. This industry however, does not have that issue.

And on a personal level, I was slightly annoyed when they moved EGX to Birmingham.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Andreia Quinta on 22nd January 2016 2:48am

Posted:7 months ago

#3

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,010 2,343 1.2
Popular Comment
That's all nice and pretty, but at the end of the day, a place to actually showcase the games, and hardware to the consumer/press needs to be chosen.
Nottingham should be the natural choice, then? It's roughly the centre of the country, so doesn't concentrate wealth and media attention on London and London-based companies. It's not London, so doesn't cost a fortune to get to and stay in, but it does have good travel connections, and the National Videogame Arcade and GameCity to cross-promote hardware/software. It would also continue to push tech development and start-ups (and by extension, more general jobs creation) in places outside of the capital - the more we get away from the idea that London is the be-all-and-end-all, the better this country will be for it. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 22nd January 2016 9:34am

Posted:7 months ago

#4

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

264 754 2.9
About Nottingham; I don't disagree, specially considering what 'kills it' in london for any visitors is precisely the steep price for a few nights under a roof or renting a venue.
But with that said, Nottingham (or whomever would like to take gamecons in the UK to the next level) would have to proactively seek it and finding ways to fund it - like the mayor of London office is - otherwise London will always want to take the cake.

On a related note, I think London is London because, cultural, entertainment, and trends wise, it just 'gets sh!t done'. Just like New York is New York for the same reasons.

Posted:7 months ago

#5

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

2,010 2,343 1.2
Nottingham (or whomever would like to take gamecons in the UK to the next level) would have to proactively seek it and finding ways to fund it - like the mayor of London office is - otherwise London will always want to take the cake.
Yeah. I would guess (though it is only that) that it starts with regional promotion - local government and private companies pushing a specific image and agenda for a city/area. Which, if true, is unfortunate... Local government budget constraints mean that it's going to be hard for regions to win against London, as private companies will be unwilling to wholly fund something.

Posted:7 months ago

#6

Rich Barham Studio Head and Executive Producer, Round Table Games Studio

2 2 1.0
I agree Morville, and it is indeed very disappointing for those outside of London trying to grow the UK games industry. I think furthermore that considering at least one of the parties involved, it is an indicator of something I believe is problematic, namely that the couple of organisations which claim to speak for games in the UK in fact speak only for their paid members. It's an interesting way of creating a monopoly of sorts which, given the fact that every voice in UK games should be heard if we wish to strengthen the industry nationally does not seem terribly healthy.

Posted:7 months ago

#7

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