The London Games Festival will take place from 30 March to 9 April 2017, organiser Games London has announced, along with its plans to grow visitor numbers to 50,000 next year.
The first London Games Festival took place in April 2016 as part of the Games London three-year initiative delivered jointly by Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).
Games London is backed by the Mayor of London, with funding worth £1.2m from the London Enterprise Panel. The three-year programme serves to promote the UK’s games sector and seeks to make London the games capital of the world. Games London ultimately aims to attract £35m of investment to the capital and create 280 jobs, all while underlining the cultural significance of interactive entertainment.
The 10-day celebration in April 2016 welcomed over 38,000 people across 30 different events across 20 different venues and culminated in a games-themed street art commission across multiple London landmarks, from a pub in Walthamstow to the Leicester Square cinema district.
Over 50,000 are expected for 2017’s festival, which will run from 30 March to 9 April. The event will open with EGX Rezzed at Tobacco Dock (30 March to 1 April), with other events confirmed for the schedule including the British Academy Games Awards (6 April) and the return of Now Play This at Somerset House (7 April to 9 April). Further announcements to come will detail activity around eSports, the Festival Fringe and a range of summits and lectures for professionals.
Also returning is the Games Finance Market (4 April to 6 April), an instrumental part of the Games London strategy. The Games Finance Market connects games developers and interactive content creators with investors and funders. In 2017 the event will double in size to welcome 60 investable businesses meeting 60 international investors.
Games London’s programme supporting games businesses has already brought in over £8.5m in potential investment to the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is a global destination for culture and creativity, and the interactive entertainment sector is playing an increasingly important part in this. Games London focuses on harnessing the city’s talent, with the ultimate aim of making London the world capital for video games. It’s fantastic to see the festival expanding in scope, reach and ambition, and connecting London-based talent with overseas investment partners – further proof that our city is open for business.”
Follow @londongamesfest on Twitter or head to www.games.london for more updates over the coming weeks and months.