Train2Game News UK Games Consultancy

Award-winning industry pioneers Philip and Andrew Oliver today announce the launch of their new games consultancy business Game Dragons.

It follows their recent departure as studio heads of Rebellion Warwick.

Game Dragons aims to offer professional, impartial advice across a wide array of games industry business and technical fields but will be focused on delivering consultancy services to scale-up developers, investors and brand holders.

The brothers have been a leading part of the UK games industry since its inception in the early 1980s. Over the following 35+ years, they have established and run three companies, employed over 600 people and been responsible for creating over 160 games across all platforms, selling over 45 million units with a retail value in excess of £1.2bn.

They founded and ran the award-winning Blitz Games Studios for 23 years, and went on to sell their next business, Radiant Worlds, to Rebellion in 2017 for a multi-million-pound sum. They were founder members of trade association TIGA and BGI, and have been regular long-term high-level advisors to a variety of trade bodies, government agencies and business organisations.

Philip Oliver is excited by the new venture, “We’ve always been happy to informally support and advise other people as they build their businesses, and have been lucky enough to receive some of the same support from others, but it’s not always easy to do that when you’re bound by your own clients’ needs and NDAs. We’re now looking forward to being able to share our experiences in a truly independent way, and help people to succeed.”

Andrew Oliver agrees: “We’ve worked with some of the biggest publishing, technology, entertainment and software companies over our years in business, and we’ve seen a lot of things come and go. We know that this industry can be unpredictable and ever-evolving so we feel we’re perfectly placed to help other companies navigate their futures.”

To find out more visit www.GameDragons.com

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.

Train2Game News: Games Industry News – 20.09.13

Andrew WilsonIt’s the end of the week so it is time for the industry news round up.

Electronic Arts’ exhaustive search for a new CEO led it to promote from within after all. The publisher today announced that executive VP of EA Sports Andrew Wilson is now the company’s CEO, replacing the seat left vacant by John Riccitiello’s resignation in March. EA executive chairman (and a former CEO of the company himself) Larry Probst will stay on as executive chairman for an undetermined length of time in order to assist Wilson with the transition to his new role.

Shinji Mikami, the father of survival horror, is back to direct The Evil Within, a game embodying the meaning of pure survival horror. Highly-crafted environments, horrifying anxiety, and an intricate story weave together to create an immersive world that will bring players to the height of tension. The Evil Within is in development for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC and is slated for release in 2014. A new trailer has been released for the game. If you are over eighteen and aren’t of a nervous disposition you can watch the trailer here, http://youtu.be/Z4WqOQTxisM

Blue Manchu is happy to announce that Card Hunter is finally available for all to play at www.cardhunter.com. Created in collaboration with legendary Magic: The Gathering creator Richard Garfield, Card Hunter is Irrational Games co-founder Jonathan Chey’s first game since BioShock. Its unique mix of card collecting, board gaming and fantasy role-playing is set to reinvigorate the collectible card gaming scene. Card Hunter is a free to play game.

Jasper Smith, CEO of PlayJam, the company behind the highly anticipated micro games console – GameStick, confirmed a Global on-sale release date for the device of Tuesday 29th October 2013. Retailers GameStop, GAME, and Amazon will partner for the launch with additional outlets in Canada, Europe and the Middle East receiving stock prior to the end of year Holiday season. The console, which broke onto the games scene in January of this year following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, has moved from paper to production in just 9 months.

Game Lab Social, a vibrant co-working space for creatives, is pleased to announce the opening of a new studio space in Leamington Spa designed to foster creativity, collaboration and knowledge sharing. As the vision of industry veterans Ollie Clarke and Steve Stopps and supported by Warwick District Council, Game Lab Social will open a space to work with local talent in specifically created workshops, on-site training and access to marketing, pitching and monetization expertise. Game Lab Social will also work to talent match, combining developer skills to create new development teams with the business infrastructure in place to support burgeoning talent, including graphic design, accounting and legal services.