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Games Industry Unites for Edinburgh ’05

Festival confirms mega line up of industry partners

LONDON June 2005: The organisers of this year's Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival 2005 have confirmed the participation of giants from the worlds of gaming, telecoms and retail for the event's third year. The Festival, will bring the cream of the Interactive Entertainment industry together under one roof at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) from 10th - 14th August 2005.

Platform giants Nintendo and XboxTM will be joined by BT, Nokia N-Gage and GAME to back the event which has been developed to provide an open international forum to debate the evolution, convergence and impact of interactive entertainment on popular culture and will explore the future vision of the industry. The festival will be open to the public with the Go Play Games attraction offering over 1,200 sq metres of action and the Game Screening programme that will allow enthusiasts to meet the names behind the games.

Key speakers and panelists confirmed for the Festival's packed conference programme, Edinburgh Interactive (11th-12th August), have been drawn from the worlds of gaming, TV, Film and Academia, mobile & retail and include notables such as Charles Cecil, MD, Revolution Software; Adam Singer, CEO, MCPS/PRS Alliance; Janine Smith, Producer, Channel 4; Dan Hubbard, Hubbard Casting; Seamus Blackley, Creative Artists Agency, Hollywood; Tim Harrison, Vodafone Group Services Head of Games and Professor Ken Perlin, Director of Media Research Lab, New York State University. Conference topics include radical changes, mobile gaming, handheld gaming and the rise of mobiles, the strength of narratives in gaming, convergence.

Nokia N-Gage is sponsoring a conference session that looks at the world of mobile gaming. Vodafone will be joining Nokia N-Gage to sit on the panel of this session and key announcements are expected form both of the telecom giants. Nokia is also sponsoring the all important aftershow party which will be presented by British fashion label, Joystick Junkies.

Retail giant GAME is supporting the festival locally with a host of initiatives running across their network of stores in Scotland.

Nintendo will take part in industry panels looking at issues affecting the games and handheld console markets and the cultural power of the industry. The heavyweight is also on hand with a trio of UK exclusives including the first outing of playable code for the eagerly awaited The Legend of Zelda®: Twilight Princess release for GameCube along with the US and Japan DS smash Nintendogs. Kuju-developed Battalion Wars for GameCube will also be debuting at the festival.

XboxTM is joining forces with Broadband from BT to bring XboxTM Live® to the festival. Jolt Online Gaming and Interactive Gaming UK are flying the flag for PC gaming with a 16 player online-gaming tournament. The challenge will be hosted by Pro-gamer Sujoy Roy, who will be on-hand to give gaming tutorials. Other attractions for gamers include the Scottish Qualifier of the World Cyber Games (WCG) hosted by Jolt Online Gaming and sponsored by Samsung with Nildram Ltd. Whilst Gizmondo will showcase the titles for 2005 onwards with Carl Freer, Gizmondo Europe MD joining the conference session, Handholding the Consumer with industry giants Nintendo and Sony.

Following a successful launch at last years' Festival, the event will host the BAFTA Interactive New Talent Award. The award is designed to recognise creative innovation, technical excellence and production achievements and has quickly become the most prestigious award for new talent in the interactive entertainment industry. Paulina Bozek, Associate Producer of last year's winning entry, SingStar for PlayStation 2 saw her game become massively successful and subsequently went on to win the BAFTA Award for Originality at the BAFTA Games Awards. Nominations for this year close on 1st July and the award is open to individuals who have been working in interactive entertainment for five years or less and are involved in product development or technology, such as producers, artists, programmers, designers, or those working in audio.

The Edge Award, returns for its third year as an integral part of the festival. The award celebrates excellence and innovation and its shortlist is prepared by members of the Edge team. The award jurors look at last year's games releases that have done the most to push boundaries and raise expectations of what can be achieved. Titles to make it to the shortlist this year include Rome: Total War (Creative Assembly - pub: Activision), Resident Evil 4 (Production Studio 4 - pub: Capcom), Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath (Oddworld Inhabitants - pub: EA), Lego Star Wars (Travellers Tales - pub: Giant), Darwinia (In-house - pub: Introversion), Daigasso! Band Brothers (In-house - pub: Nintendo) and Catch! Touch! Yoshi (In-house - pub: Nintendo). This shortlist is then considered by an international panel of judges including Ragnar Tørnquist (Funcom, the makers of The Longest Journey) Dene Carter (Big Blue Box, the makers of Fable) Josh Randall (Harmonix, the makers of Amplitude) Randy Smith (ex-Ion Storm and Looking Glass Studios, the makers of Thief) and John Baez (The Behemoth, the makers of Alien Homind). The shortlist is also opened up to a public vote, giving the industry a unique chance to see how its concerns match up with consumers (or not).

Greg Ingham, Chair of EIEF, comments, "We are delighted to have so many prestigious partners on board. Their support helps to build the event's international significance and will prove invaluable in delivering an exceptional four days in the Scottish capital for both those in the gaming and entertainment industries and game fans alike. It's the only place where representatives from the TV, film, games and interactive industries will come together to learn from each other and network. Delegates can look forward to joining the industry's most influential thought leaders for a feature packed conference programme that looks further forward than next year's slate to challenge preconceptions and drive innovation."

For further information and to book a delegate place for the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival please visit www.eief.co.uk

ENDS

For further information please contact Taylor Herring Brand Communications

Andrew Campbell-Edie T: 020 8206 5151 E: andrew.campbell-edie@taylorherring.com

Naomi Segal T: 020 8206 5157 E: naomi.segal@taylorherring.co.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival is managed by a committee drawn from all areas of the business, including publishers, developers and two industry trade bodies; The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) www.tiga.org and the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) www.elspa.com. Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian supports the Festival as part of its backing of the creative and digital industries, which are key sectors for Scotland.
  • The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival's aim is to increase the awareness and understanding of interactive entertainment and it's place at the heart of popular culture, highlighting the growing bond between video games and other entertainment industries notably music, literature, television and film.
  • Greg Ingham, Chief Executive, Future plc. Greg began his publishing career as a journalist at Reed International plc in 1983. Having left to edit CTW for four years he then joined Future in 1988 as publisher. He successfully drove growth in computing and games where Future became clear market leaders. He was appointed managing director in 1996 and subsequently chief executive of in 1999, leading the company through its IPO in June that year. He is Chairman of the DTI Games Industry Forum, is a director of the Periodical Publishers' Association and a trustee of the Entertainment Software Charity. He is also a director of the Theatre Royal Bath.

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