Earlier this week the London Games Festival was unveiled along with news that London mayor Boris Johnson is to contribute £1.2 million to ensure the event remains a part of the UK calendar for at least three years. And while this is an absolutely fantastic bit of news for the UK games industry. The focus on London has left a few people a little concerned.
Now, as someone based in the Midlands, getting to London isn’t as easy as a trip to the local supermarket. A lot of planning is involved and usually, with travel costs and the time it takes, it’s a long and fairly expensive day. But it has to happen often due to the sheer amount of events based in the UK’s capital, and with the announcement of the London Games Festival, a new 10-day event, there’s even more going on in London.
But what about those outside of the UK’s capital, and I don’t just mean consumers, I mean people like ourselves and developers, who are said to benefit from this 1.2 million cash injection? Well, despite the focus being on London, The Chair of LGF and Games London, Andy Payne, said to MCV that it’s necessary that they don’t “just talk about ‘London, London, London’.”
“LGF can shine a light on, and help, the rest of the UK, because we have a digital business and we don’t have to be located in London. There are thriving hubs in Brighton, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Dundee, Edinburgh, Liverpool and many more. And these areas should grow bigger because of the digital nature of what we do,” he said.
“London is the capital of finance globally. Wouldn’t it be great if it was the capital of digital, too?” he asked. “If you look at digital capitals, San Francisco is perhaps No.1, but London isn’t far behind. There’s no reason why we can’t be No.1 in the world.”
Payne hopes that this initiative does more for the UK and encourages the AAA publisher to increase investment in the UK.
“Britain, through London, has a good opportunity to be a place where the bigger companies can have their games made,” he said. “The UK can certainly punch equally and take-on big gaming countries like Canada.”
The good news for those worried about London becoming the UK’s main hub for gaming-related things, gaming has already broken out of the UK capital with EGX 2015 which was held last September at the NEC in Birmingham, the same venue EGX 2016 will be held too.