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Guide to London Games Festival

All the events taking place in the UK over the next seven days

Despite having the same name, last year's London Games Festival was a completely different affair to the festivals that preceded it.

Supported by the Mayor of London, LGF 2016 featured a number of conferences, consumer shows, awards and galleries - mixed together with a plethora of esoteric and unusual events - designed to change perceptions around games, both from the wider public as well as potential investors. And it was a success in both attracting business to the capital and reaching some 38,000 people.

Now London Games Festival returns with an even more ambitious programme of events - and it began with EGX Rezzed last week

"As games is a continually evolving and changing medium, it means we can keep refreshing the content to reflect new developments," says Games London boss Michael French. "A good example is two new B2B conference-style events, the Mixed Reality Summit and the Artificial Intelligence Summit. On a cultural front we're hosting the revival of Dear Esther Live and planning a large-scale parade on the streets of London. 

"But the core of our activity and returning events are just as exciting. Now Play This is back at Somerset House for three days and will showcase nearly 50 alternative and innovative games in a setting that usually houses art exhibitions, proof that interactive entertainment has earned consideration alongside other art forms. And our Games Finance Market returns, but has doubled in size - we have 60 companies meeting a similar number of investors worth around £400m."

Games London, which runs LGF, operates all year round and says it has already brought in potential deals worth in excess of £10m. It wants to accelerate that growth, and hopes to attract 50,000 attendees to LGF this year.

"There couldn't be a more crucial moment for something like Games London to be around and promoting the industry, whether you look at the games sector specifically or the context around it," French concludes. "Our industry is growing at a great pace but access to finance and stability for games companies isn't always a guarantee, so when we're out there making connections and evangelising the city to investors we're doing our part to offset that. And in the wider context of Brexit, that sort of messaging is doubly important. It's a great city to work and do business in and that's what we've got to keep telling people. Our invaluable support from the Mayor of London and his #LondonIsOpen campaign tie into that, too."

Here is what is still to come from LGF 2017

Monday, April 3rd

AI Summit
2pm - 5pm
Regent Street Cinema, W1B 2U
A conference examining the role of AI in video games

Tuesday, April 4th

Mixed Reality Summit
10am to 1pm
Regent Street Cinema, W1B 2U
The three-hour summit will explore AR, VR and everything in between

Fringe: Digital Schoolhouse
eSports Tournament
Gfinity Arena, Fulham Broadway
The tournament is designed to engage and inspire students

Fringe: VideoBrains
7pm - 10pm
Secret Weapon, Stratford
Six speakers explore a single theme in relation to video games

Fringe: French Invaders
120 Holborn
An informal networking event organised by French Tech London for international gamers and businesses

Fringe: Realms: Games Architecture
6:30pm - 9pm
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
A discussion on the relationship between games and architecture

Wednesday, April 5th

Games Finance Market
(Runs until April 7th)
The Grange Hotel, Tower Bridge,
Connecting developers with investors from around the world

Fringe: UKIE Student Conference
London South Bank University
Students will have the chance to learn about different career paths in games

Fringe: eScon Europe
(Runs all day April 5th and 6th)
Le Meridien Piccadilly
eSports conference featuring a range of speakers

Thursday, April 6th

Leaders Forum
An invite-only forum for CEOs and decision makers, examining trends

BAFTA Game Awards
Tobacco Dock
One of the biggest nights in the industry calendar

Fringe: Hit Play UK
9am - 1pm
Royal Society of Chemistry
Delegates will discuss the talent required to sustain the UK industry

Fringe: Marioke
7pm - 10pm
Dalston, Loading Bar
A night of karaoke with a games twist

Fringe: GoldenEye Royale
7pm - 12am
Six Yard Box, Elephant and Castle
GoldenEye gaming with a Martini

Fringe: Horror Lock
7pm - 2am
Secret Weapon, Stratford
Play scary games after-hours

Fringe: More than Just a Game III 10am - 7pm (Runs until April 7th) Stationers Hall, Ave Maria Lane Academic-led conference on game law

Friday, April 7th

W.IN 2pm The Hospital Club A platform for women to network, share ideas and hear from speakers

Now Play This (Runs until April 9th) Somerset House Events and installations on games. A series of Microtalks will run on Friday

Fringe: Rumpus Party 10pm - 6am Islington Metalworks A space age, hypnotic neon party

Saturday, April 8th

Games Character Parade 1pm City of London (Guildhall Yard, New Change & Paternoster Square) Hundreds of games characters take to the streets of London

Fringe: Mayamada Gamepad 12pm - 5pm Bethnal Green A social gaming event promoting inclusion and diversity in gaming

Fringe: For the Record: Data Discs 7pm-2am Loading Bar, Dalston A night of music, records and gaming

Fringe: Off The Page 1pm - 4pm British Library Knowledge Centre A free event on literature and games

Fringe: UK eSports News Gathering 5pm - 10pm Secret Weapon, Stratford A meet-up for the UK eSports scene

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Christopher Dring avatar
Christopher Dring: Chris is a 17-year media veteran specialising in the business of video games. And, erm, Doctor Who