Train2Game News Interactive Futures

February’s Interactive Futures event will welcome Caroline Dinenage MP, the Minister of State for Digital and Culture, to open the conference’s discussions about talent in the games industry – and the career opportunities available to children and young people in Leamington Spa and beyond.

Interactive Futures (www.interactive-futures.com) takes place from Tuesday, February 16 to Saturday February 20 as a virtual event. It will provide practical advice and guidance to students, young people and children – plus their parents – on how to navigate their pathways into the games industry.

Conservative MP for Gosport, Stubbington, Lee-on-the-Solent and Hill Head, Caroline Dinenage was appointed Minister of State for Digital and Culture at the DCMS in February 2020. She has also held roles in Government within the Women, Equalities & Early Years departments, amongst others.

Her keynote at Interactive Futures will take place on the morning of Wednesday, February 17.

Other confirmed Interactive Futures 2021 speakers include:

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI – which runs the annual Games Education Summit – will be hosting a keynote panel session discussing how Leamington Spa studios are working with educators to support and nurture the next generation of video games creators.

Dr Jo Twist, CEO of Ukie, will deliver a keynote speech outlining how the games trade body is working hard to provide educational resources for all ages – and why it’s important that the UK games industry nurtures its future pipeline of talent.

Declan Cassidy, Chief Executive of Into Games, will discuss why it’s important for the industry to support and advise children from as young as primary age about a career in games.

Interactive Futures is hosted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council.

Sarah Windrum, board director at the CWLEP and chair of its Digital and Creative Business Group, said: “This is a really exciting line-up of speakers led by the Minister of State for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage MP which is a real coup for the event in its third year and testament to the hard work of the team.

  “Interactive Futures is an ideal opportunity for students and parents to find out more about a sector which offers a really wide range of careers and to hear about the importance of the industry throughout the UK and particularly in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

The full Interactive Futures programme (https://interactive-futures.com/conference-2021/) will include a series of dedicated conference sessions for primary school children, secondary school children and young people, Further Education and Higher Education students.

Interactive sessions will also be featured, courtesy of Digital Schoolhouse and Into Games, while one-to-one Portfolio Reviews and Advice Clinics will run throughout the four days.

It’s free to attend and tickets are available now – https://interactive-futures.com/tickets-2021/.

Train2Game News Interactive Futures Event

The UK’s newest games conference and festival, Interactive Futures, is delighted to announce full details of the Academic Conference taking place on the first day of the 3 day festival on Thursday 31 January 2019.

The sessions will also be hosted at Warwickshire College and feature a range of esteemed academic speakers.

The Academic Conference will allow academics and researchers, plus school, college and university students an opportunity to enjoy the insights available as part of Interactive Futures. The programme on Thursday 31 January covers a range of topics across 3 key areas; Contexts and Histories, Innovation and Application and Users and Impacts, with 12 individual sessions throughout the day.

Hosted by Warwickshire College, speakers on the programme will be representing University of Birmingham, Coventry University, Staffordshire University, Birmingham City University, Art Institute of Chicago, Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Totem Learning Ltd and, of course, Silicon Spa itself.

Steve Taylor, Dean of Higher Education at Warwickshire College, commented, “We are really pleased to be hosting the Interactive Futures Academic Conference which has an exciting and diverse line-up of speakers who will be presenting research and work which is at the forefront of developments in both leisure and serious gaming. Warwickshire College students are studying Foundation and full honours degrees in Games Art right in the heart of Silicon Spa, and this conference will also be a great opportunity for them to gain insights into the industry, careers and further research opportunities”

Specific sessions at the conference include Historical Perspectives on ‘Serious Gaming’, Exploring Video Games to Teach Digital Skills, The Politics of VR: Who Are We Developing For?, and Can Fantasy Games Impact Behaviour in the “Real World”? among others. The full session timetable can now be viewed at www.interactive-futures.com.

The Academic Conference will form day 1 of the 3 days of Interactive Futures, which will also be hosting sessions across Friday 1 and Saturday 2 February at the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington Spa. Leamington Spa (known as Silicon Spa) is one of the UK’s largest games clusters outside of London, with a wealth of both AAA studios and indie developers at the heart of its success. The cluster employs over 2500 highly skilled individuals and equates to over 10% of the total UK games development workforce.

Other sessions throughout the 3 day event will focus on industry specific technical insight, accessibility in games, access to finance for game developers, the latest in influencer marketing, career opportunities and much more. Speakers include representatives from Playground Games, Playstation, UKIE, Space Ape Games and others. For the latest news please visit www.interactive-futures.com

As well as the conference programme visitors to Interactive Futures can immerse themselves in the Games Showcase, featuring a range of companies showcasing new releases and opportunities throughout the event, as well as a range of soon to be announced Fringe events around the town.

Interactive Futures will take place at the Royal Spa Centre on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 February and will be preceded by the academic conference for colleges and universities at Warwickshire College on Thursday 31st January.

Tickets for the Academic Conference are priced at £50 and are available now from www.interactive-futures.com.

Tickets are also available to purchase as a 2 day festival pass joint with a Friday ticket..

Train2Game News Games festival at Leamington Spa

The UK is set to welcome a brand new games festival as Interactive Futures announces its inaugural event in early 2019.

The event will be held in Leamington Spa, one of the UK’s largest games clusters outside of London, and will offer a range of sessions and opportunities across 3 days for games professionals, content creators and curators, game players and families.

Interactive Futures will bring together the creative and games communities to showcase the latest developments and opportunities, uncover career and industry insights and reveal new releases with a whole bundle of fun on the side. The event will celebrate the heritage and success of Leamington Spa’s games community, whilst also providing a platform for all UK based games professionals to gain industry insights, network and collaborate.

Known in the industry as “Silicon Spa”, the cluster employs over 2500 highly skilled individuals and equates to over 10% of the total UK games development workforce. The town has a history of over 30 years in the sector with local talent including key names such as Codemasters, SEGA and Ubisoft.

Among the first speakers to be announced is Dr Jo Twist, CEO of UKIE (Association for UK Interactive Entertainment), who will opening the conference on Friday 1 February, and Jordan Webber, who will be acting as Conference Chair throughout the event. A games journalist, often found in The Guardian or talking about games on The Gadget Show, Jordan is hugely passionate about both games and her adopted hometown of Leamington Spa.

“I spend a good deal of my time convincing people to come to Leamington, so this event is the perfect way to get lots of my friends, colleagues, and other people from the video game community to visit the best town in the world.”

Sessions across the event will focus on a range of key topics including accessibility, influencer marketing, project post mortems, diversification in talent, breaking into the industry, staying safe online and upcoming new releases. With influencer marketing a current hot topic, we’ll be discussing how companies can use this to their advantage in promoting their releases. Friday’s influencer session will see Rich Keith, Managing Director of influencer management company, Fourth Floor Creative, and James Day, Head of Social Media at Jagex, discuss their top tips for engaging influencers and how the marketing landscape is changing.

Another key topic at the event will be accessibility in games. Joining the panel discussions will be Playstation’s accessibility specialist, Mark Friend alongside Barrie Ellis from games accessibility charity, Special Effect, accessible games designer at Midoki, Lynsey Graham and specialist accessibility consultant, Ian Hamilton.

For those looking to start their career in the industry there will be a range of experts available to help you on your way. Nick Duncombe, Resource Manager at Playground Games, the team behind the Forza Horizon series, will be discussing routes into the industry alongside the likes of DJ Hero co-creator, Alex Darby, and e-sports presenter and influencer Elle Osili-Woods. If you fancy yourself as a games journalist or the next big influencer, then sessions with freelance journalist Alysia Judge and CMO of influencer platform, Matchmade, Heini Vesander, will be sure to help attendees get started.

The event is also backed by Warwickshire County Council, Warwick District Council and Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, who remain incredibly proud of Leamington Spa’s standing within the UK games industry.

Nick Harper, from Exient Studios, commented, “Our Silicon Spa businesses are key to the thriving games market in the UK and display the wealth of talent that lies across the country in this sector. Interactive Futures is the perfect way for us to celebrate this talent and success and will allow us to welcome those from outside the area to see what we have to offer.”

As well as the conference programme visitors to Interactive Futures can immerse themselves in the Talent Expo, featuring a range of companies showcasing new releases and opportunities throughout the event, as well as a range of soon to be announced Fringe events around the town.

Interactive Futures will take place at the Royal Spa Centre on Friday 1 and Saturday 2 February and will be preceded by an academic conference for colleges and universities on Thursday 31st January.

Tickets for the event are on sale now from www.interactive-futures.com with Friday 1 February providing an industry specific focus and Saturday 2 February open to all families, students and active gamers. You can also follow the event on social media @int_futures on Twitter and @interactive_futures on Instagram.