Train2Game News Games London

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London’s games and interactive entertainment industry is set for a £1.2m boost with the launch of Games London, a ground breaking new programme to make the city the games capital of the world, tapping into a market that globally is worth around $81bn.
 
Funded by the London Enterprise Panel (LEP), Games London is being delivered by Film London, the capital’s strategic agency for film and media, and games trade body Ukie and will build on recent growth in the games sector, which generated £2.8bn in revenue in 2015.
 
The three year programme will capitalise on the Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR), which was introduced in 2014. It will attract investment to the UK and help businesses based in the capital generate £35million in new revenue, adding nearly £10million, as well as creating hundreds of jobs and boosting skills and training.
 
The plan was announced today via an in-game press conference featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson in one of the biggest video games in the world: Minecraft.
 
Mayor of London and Chair of the LEP Boris Johnson said ‘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. 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.’
 
The Games London programme will deliver:
 
·         A new annual London Games Festival – with the first taking place in April 2016 – to showcase and celebrate the industry’s huge cultural and economic impact

·         A new international business-to-business networking event to attract top investment to the UK

·         Inbound and outbound trade missions to promote the tax relief and the sector overseas, in conjunction with London’s official promotional company London & Partners

·         A range of training and skills initiatives
 

The 2016 London Games Festival takes place 1 April to 10 April, and will include 15 official events across 10 different venues in the capital. Highlights include:

·         Now Play This (1 April – 3 April), a weekend festival of games and play at Somerset House, as part of Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility

·         The brand-new Games Finance Market (5 April – 7 April), a first of its kind event that recreates the successful formula delivered by Film London in matching film finance to film projects during the London Film Festival. The Games Finance Market will connect interactive content talent with global investors and partners from across sectors

·         A series of insightful ‘LGF @ BFI’ talks (4 April) programmed and presented by London Games Festival in partnership with BFI Southbank

·         The inclusion of already influential global events: British Academy Games Awards (7 April) and EGX Rezzed (7 April – 9 April)

·         An inspiring cultural programme that helps change perceptions of video games and champions the medium as a cutting-edge art form – plus a London Games Fringe of alternative and exciting smaller events

Games London is being led by Michael French who was appointed in September 2015. French has been working in the games sector for 13 years as a journalist and publisher, building brands and events that support and grow the games industry. Partners include BAFTA, London & Partners, Gamer Events, Somerset House and the BFI.

More details about Games Festival will be announced soon. Further information can be found at www.games.london

Train2Game News: A visit to Special Effect

Kirsty Payne from SpecialEffectI had the great pleasure of going to visit SpecialEffect at its headquarters in Oxford on Wednesday. The charity held a get together to thank supporters for their work during the Art Charity Auction back in December.

As I arrived at the building I was struck by how incredible it looked. I drove up a long road, flanked by trees all the way up to a Manor building where SpecialEffect is housed. I parked around the back and entered the easily accessible building where I was met by Hannah Whittaker, who works at SpeciaEffect.

As I entered the office I was greeted by Gavin Tan, who is a developer for the charity. I chatted with Gavin for a bit about games, that is the reason we are in this industry, and he then showed me some of the controllers they use to help disabled people to be able to play games.

The first controller I tried was the “EyeGaze”. This is a device which tracks your eye movements and lets you do all the things you want on a computer using nothing but your eye movement. Following a quick calibration I got to play racing game, Dirt. To control the vehicle you moved your eyes to the top of the screen to go faster, to the bottom of the screen to brake and reverse and direct your eyes left or right to turn. I am normally terrible at racing games but using the EyeGaze I managed an average time which pleased me!

Following on from the EyeGaze I got to experience voice activated controls in Street Fighter. A control was set up which is used for movement and can be controlled by your chin with a sensitive microphone for the voice commands. The commands were simple like “Punch” for an uppercut, “Kick” for a spinning kick and “Move” to do a Hadouken.

Seeing and experiencing these controllers for myself really showed me how helpful these can be for people trying to get back in to gaming and back playing games on a level playing field. It truly is an amazing thing that the people at SpecialEffect do.

Over the next half an hour several games industry people turned up to the office for the event. There were people there from Sega, Warner Bros, and Take-two. Once everyone had arrived it was time for the main event.

Everyone was welcomed to the event by Kirsty Payne, a Vice President of SpecialEffect, who can be seen in the picture above. She gave a quick run down of the event in December. The art auction featured games art from across the industry and was held at the London City Hall and was visited by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The auction managed to raise over £30,000!

The floor was then given over to Dr Mick Donegan, founder of SpecialEffect, who showed where the money will be going and who is being helped.

After the presentation SpecialEffect offered us drink and food. It was lovely just being able to talk with some of the games industry people who do so much for our industry and hearing their opinions on the games industry at the moment.

It was an incredible day and I will continue to do what I can for this amazing Charity! I will leave you with this amazing video of a young man called Alex who has been able to play games again and has used Special Effects help to be able to become a Train2Game student!

Enjoy!

Train2Game News: Microsoft opening new Development Centre in London

Tech CityThe Train2Game researchers have found that Microsoft is opening up a new Development centre in the heart of London.

Prime Minister David Cameron today announced a major Government investment in Tech City. The Government will put £50m towards a visionary project to regenerate the Old Street roundabout, which will see it transformed into Europe’s largest indoor civic space, dedicated to start-ups and entrepreneurs in East London. This new civic building will host classrooms, co-working spaces and workshops equipped with the latest 3D printing technology, for use by both the local start-ups and the wider community.

One of the new additions to Tech City will be from Microsoft. They are establishing a Technology Development Centre in the heart of Tech City as part of their commitment to the cluster and will support local technology development. Microsoft’s hope is to work to inspire innovation and provide expertise and guidance to those with new and innovative ideas. They will create packages of support for Developer Apprentices and are working on a new Apprenticeship to support young people in and around Tech City.

Prime Minister David Cameron said “Two years ago I set out my commitment to help Tech City become one of the world’s great technology centres. Today we are seeing it continue to grow and go from strength to strength – and that is down to the talented, creative entrepreneurs who have set up there. The UK is in a global race and I am determined that we as a Government continue doing everything we can to equip the UK to compete and thrive in that race. As well as backing the businesses of today, we are creating an aspiration nation and also backing the innovative, high-growth businesses of the future.”

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added “The time is right to lay solid foundations in Tech City for London’s digital revolution, and this list of major new firms committing to the area is a testament to the confidence leading tech entrepreneurs have in the capital. Our new centre will provide not only a vital resource to nurture upcoming technology and creative superstars from around the world, it will drive huge investment into the capital and help create thousands of jobs.”

You can find out more about Tech City at their website.