London Games Festival is proud to announce Now Play This at Home, a weekend of online gameplay, creativity and experimentation for all ages and abilities to enjoy for free from home.
Taking place at the same time as the postponed physical festival at Somerset House, which has been home to Now Play This since 2015, Now Play This at Home embraces the experimentation and community spirit of the festival, giving regular visitors the chance to come together online for the first time to enjoy an engaging new virtual programme.
Working closely with a creative community of makers, designers and artists, the festival presents a weekend of streamed talks, creative workshops, performances and interactive tours of popular game worlds, made available through its dedicated website nowplaythis.net and will be broadcast on Twitch.
Art critics The White Pube join independent video game developer House House for a soothing discussion and Q&A streamed live from Animal Crossing
Artists Bill Leslie and Lucy Cran (Leap Then Look) host a two-hour participatory art and game-making workshop, inviting families across the internet to work together to create sculpture, performance and film using materials found around their homes
Game developer and professor at NYU Game Center, Robert Yang, takes players on an exclusive interactive tour through the popular first-person shooter video game Half-Life (1998).
Writer, artist and games designer Gareth Damian Martin takes players on a photography walk through survival game No Man’s Sky (2016), encouraging players to capture and share snapshots of the surreal, out-of-this-world landscapes encountered along the way.
Across the weekend, audiences will also be able to take their pick from a curated selection of exclusive online games and films to watch and play at home, including works from Molleindustria and Ip Yuk-Yiu.
The London Games Festival has unveiled its GAMES ARE GOOD FOR YOU theme, supported with a city-wide and social media ad campaign, as its full programme goes live for 2020.
LGF 2020 takes place from 26 March to 6 April with 100,000 expected. Yearly tentpole events like Now Play This, EGX Rezzed and the festival’s own Trafalgar Square takeover will have a variety of experiences to offer games fans while the B2B strand for professionals grows to include more international attendance than ever before.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The London Games Festival is a great showcase of our booming games industry and the significant investment and jobs it brings to our capital. Across 12 days, it brings together professionals, businesses and games fans from across the world to celebrate this thriving sector and provide opportunities for our creative talent. I’m delighted that this year’s event will be delivering a positive message to the industry, as we show the world that London is open to business and innovation.”
50 speakers from around the world will talk about the art, craft and business of making games at festival programming including summits on Games Impact, Interactive Narratives, and Games Culture. Dedicated Global Games and Hollywood XP events will delve into international business and connections between films and games respectively. Tickets are now on sale via www.games.london.
Entirely free to attend is the LGF Business HUB, which will not only provide a meeting place plus roundtables and one-to-one mentoring sessions, but also provides the first official showcase for Ensemble, the festivals’s annual exhibition showcasing BAME video games developers and creatives, plus a range of exhibitors from international games studios.
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said:\u2028“Video games and interactive entertainment are a valuable part of the UK’s creative and digital industries. Games provide billions of people around the globe with entertainment, ways to connect with friends, and compelling stories, worlds, characters and themes. For 12 days across the city, the London Games Festival will showcase the creative excellence, the talent, the scaling innovative businesses and the positive impact games have in people’s lives.”
London Games Festival is backed by the Mayor of London with funding of £1.2m over three years and seeks to make London the games capital of the world. It is delivered by Games London,an initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).
Games London has become a key driver for global business in the capital’s games sector through its Festival plus trade missions – latest research proves that since 2016 it has created over 550 jobs for London through its work connecting games studios with funders and investors.
Adrian Wootton, CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “London’s games sector is a billion-pound industry, generating £1.4bn for the economy and directly employing over 5,100 roles. It is fantastic to see the London Games Festival expanding its reach and ambition, building on the success of last year’s festival and doubling our presence in Trafalgar Square, bringing games to life in the centre of London and celebrating work from around the world, drawing on the creative clusters outside of the capital and reflecting the terrific success of the UK industry.
“Creative industries are the big success story of the UK and London economies and the games industry is a key, cutting-edge component of this success. As well as celebrating this achievement with such a strong programme of events and activities embracing the culture and creativity of games, I’m delighted that the festival will once again enable major new business opportunities through initiatives such as the Games Finance Market, which draws in up to 60 major investors to the UK for pitch meetings with games businesses.”
The full list of highlights for London Games Festival 2020: Ensemble – Thursday, 26 March onwards
Various locations across the city
The acclaimed exhibition focusing on BAME games professionals can be seen across London EGX Rezzed – Thursday, 26 March to Saturday, 28 March
Europe’s biggest showcase of indie PC and console games WIN – Friday, 27 March
Venue to be announced
Fifth edition of our event for women in games with added mentoring support for attendees LGF Business HUB – Monday, 30 March & Tuesday, 31 March
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
The B2B week of LGF starts with our all-in-one base of networking, conferences and learningGlobal Games Summit – Monday, 30 March
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
A new invite-only conference for our international guests to kickstart the B2B weekGames Impact Summit – Monday, 30 March
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
Dedicated to examining how games positively influence livesInteractive Narratives Summit – Tuesday, 31 March
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
The second year for our afternoon examining how games are written and tell storiesGames Culture Summit – Tuesday, 31 March
Embankment Galleries, Somerset House
One of the longest running LGF events looks at the artistic practitioners shaping and reacting to gamesGames Finance Market – Wednesday, 1 April & Thursday, 2 April
Games London’s signature event connecting games studios to investors and publishers Games Finance Workshop- Wednesday, 1 April & Thursday, 2 April
Institute of Directors
A two-day course on learning the fundamentals of games financing and then how to perfect your pitchHollywood XP – Wednesday, 1 April
The Strand Palace Hotel
A brand new event examines the crossover and connections between video games and other screen industriesBAFTA Games Awards – Thursday, 2 April
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank
The world’s most iconic games ceremony honouring the past year of creative excellenceNow Play This – Friday, 3 April to Sunday, 5 April
A key part of LGF since it started, showcasing installations and interactive experiencesTrafalgar Square Games Festival – Friday, 3 April & Saturday, 4 April
A tentpole consumer moment in the festival bringing games to life in the centre of London Cosplay Parade – Saturday, 4 April
The fourth year for this family event, and this time integrated into the Trafalgar Square Games FestivalPower UP – Saturday, 4 April to Sunday, 19 April
The Science Museum’s retro games showcase starts during the final weekend of the games festival
Ukie has become a major funder of this year’s Now Play This, part of the London Games Festival, to support more experimental game commissions and to help extend the exhibition’s run.
It comes as part of a new three-way partnership with Games London and Now Play This CIC.
This year, Now Play This will extend from four days to nine, bringing the latest in experimental game design from around the world to Somerset House for its biggest edition ever. Ukie’s funding will enable more commissions and content to exist for practitioners to showcase their work to the public. It will also fund more workshops and key industry talks on skills development as well as networking opportunities.
The commitment from Ukie reflects the significance of Now Play This and its role as part of the London Games Festival, which is a joint project between Film London and Ukie, supported by the Mayor of London. The exhibition is a popular, family friendly part of the Festival programme and extending the run will enable more people to get hands on with the games on display.
Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment) said: “Now Play This is a true celebration of the culture, curiosity and creative breadth of games. We are delighted that this contribution from the sector means more creativity and artistry from the community. We’re also pleased that the funding will help Now Play This to have more original commissioned work and more opportunities for anyone interested in our powerful form of art.”
Jonathan Reekie CBE, Director of Somerset House Trust, said: “We are extremely grateful to Ukie for their enhanced support of this year’s Now Play This at Somerset House. This has enabled us to double the length of the festival to nine days, with more games, talks and workshops for visitors of all ages. With Ukie’s support, Now Play This continues to offer a vital platform for talented artists and game developers and ensure that experimental game design often engaging in unexpected subjects is thriving.”
Now Play This is a festival of experimental game design which runs at Somerset House in London as part of London Games Festival. This year Now Play This will run over nine days from 6-14 April, featuring exciting hands-on gameplay for all ages to enjoy, from solo games to multiplayer collaborative experiences, from a host of multidisciplinary artists and creators. Visitors can also enjoy a range of free outdoor gaming installations, as well as a series of insightful talks, workshops and activities from the designers and makers taking part in the festival.
London Games Festival 2018 will launch a new exhibition of work by UK games creatives from BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds this April.
Ensemble highlights the significant contribution BAME creatives have made to the UK’s games culture at every level, focusing on up to eight artists and delving into their work.
Ensemble aims to inspire the next generation of game developers from all backgrounds, offering a fresh angle on game development as a creative process. It will also showcase how diverse talents and perspectives are vital for building more diverse digital worlds and creating the games of the future.
The London Games Festival has enlisted Sharna Jackson to curate Ensemble. Jackson has a wealth of experience in digital initiatives within arts and cult and has held roles at Tate, Design Museum, The Broad in LA and the Royal Collection Trust and consulted for National Maritime Museum, Museum of Childhood, V&A and Science Museum. She is a trustee at Sheffield Doc/Fest, New Writing North and Upswing, and a non-exec director at Bright Little Labs.
“Important work is being created by minorities, and it’s imperative to highlight these achievements – especially in this climate – and to encourage and support the next generation of talent as they emerge. The show foregrounds the importance of a diverse industry, by demonstrating its significance in the creation of rich and intoxicating worlds and experiences for everyone,” Jackson says.
A steering group that helps guide the exhibition’s content and ethos includes Jackson plus Shahid Ahmad (Ultimatum Games, formerly Sony), Nainita Desai (leading UK composer for BBC, HBO, ITV and more), Kish Hirani (BAME in Games, formerly Sony), Adrian Hon (Six to Start), Nahrein Kemp (Film London), Dr Mitu Khandaker (Spirit AI, NYU Game Center) and Anisa Sanusi (Hutch Games).
Ensemble is supported by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
Ensemble will be unveiled during the larger London Games Festival 2018, which runs from 5-15 April 2018 across the capital, before touring key games clusters in the UK. This includes two days at LGF’s HUB event in Bloomsbury on 9 & 10 April, and other activity to be announced.
The London Games Festival is organised by Games London, a partnership between the capital’s screen industries agency Film London and games trade body Ukie, supported by the Mayor of London’s London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP).
If you are interested in submitting your own work for the exhibition – or want to put forward someone for consideration – contact firstname.lastname@example.org or @sharnajackson on Twitter. The deadline for all recommendations and entries is March 6 – more information at www.games.londo ensemble.e.
For more information on the London Games Festival visit www.games.london . Follow @londongamesfest on Twitter or Instagram for more updates.
Debuting this year as part of the London Games Festival Fringe, Bonus Stage is a brand new indie game showcase featuring 12 hot indie games from London and further afield.
The event is free and will take place at Loading Bar in Dalston from 11am till 11pm on Sunday 2nd April.
Bonus Stage has been curated by London-based developer Joe Bain, who helps run a co-working space for game developers. “We meet 5 days a week at Loading Bar and have been doing it for over 2 years now.” says Bain. “The space is free to use, and we have a real diversity of developers – some of the people behind VVVVV, Hyper Light Drifter, Hohokum, A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build, and loads more come to work on their next projects, meet other devs, and occasionally drink beer.”
Joe wanted to showcase the hard work of upcoming developers with an event that’s free to attend and free to exhibit at, and so Bonus Stage was born.
Launched today as part of the London Games Festival, the eGames is an international gaming tournament where national pride is the prize.
Speaking at the event, Minster for Culture Ed Vaizey said “The eGames promises to be an exciting venture that will give eSports competitors across the UK even more opportunities to showcase their talents on an international stage. I welcome the ambitions of the IEGC and their efforts to promote the UK as a leading nation in the eSports sector.”
In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with no prize money, but the opportunity to take home gold for your country.
The IEGC is a not for profit initiative, and has been set up with the aim of positively shaping the future of competitive gaming . They will set up an International Advisory Board to assist in running the eGames and assist it with: instilling good governance, responsible gaming and ensuring the competition is inclusive and diverse.
Each country will have the opportunity to enter their eTeam. Currently eTeam Britain, eTeam Canada, eTeam Brazil and eTeam USA are already on board.
The first planned event is a two-day pop up in Rio during the Olympics to showcase the eGames to the world of competitive gaming and attract further partners.
“We plan to take the very best practice from the sports world and bring it to competitive gaming. Our ambition is to bring credibly to the sector, dignity to the players and inspiration to the spectators.” – Chester King, Chief Marketing Officer, International eGames Group.
Jules Robinson Head of Business Development at Pinewood Group, where the IECG will operate from, added “We are delighted to be welcoming this exciting new initiative to our growing gaming community here at Pinewood. This bolsters our ambitions for Pinewood Games to become the leading games hub and go to location for the British games industry looking for state of the art facilities and a cluster of likeminded companies to work alongside. The IEGC will also be able to take advantage of outstanding venues for hosting events as well as our industry leading broadcasting services, which will prove essential in delivering all the action that the eSports community demands.”
The Games Finance Market launches as part of the Brand New London Games Festival.
When: Wednesday April 6th, 9.30am – 6pm
Where: The Grange City Hotel, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ
The Games Finance Market is a brand new financing event and the only one of its kind in the UK. Handpicked British game developers will be introduced to potential VC’s, investors and business partners who are ready to sign up new product and finance deals. Games London will match some of the most promising games businesses in the UK with a carefully selected set of high profile financiers in a ’speed dating’ style event that includes over 500 pre-organised 20 minute pitching meetings.
The following spokespeople are available for interview by appointment:
Dr Jo Twist: CEO of UKIE the governing trade body for the UK Video Games Industry. Jo can talk about the UK games industry in terms of what it’s worth to the economy and what the recent tax breaks have achieved.
Adrian Wootton: CEO of Film London and the British Film Commission. Film London has a long history marrying investment with British movie talent.
Alex Fleetwood: Founder of London-based games studio Sensible Object, which is working on an innovative new toys-to-life game for iPad.
London Venture Partners: A venture capitalist firm based in the city that has invested in a number of influential games developers around world including Supercell, creators of the world’s biggest game Clash of Clans.
Special Showcase at London Games Festival to Champion New UK-Made Games.
Organisers of the new London Games Festival today announced a brand new session added to the schedule – a Games Showcase that will profile eight upcoming UK-made games, some of them unannounced. The games will demonstrate the variety of games produced in this country across a mix of genres and platforms.
The London Games Festival UK Games Showcase takes place on Monday, 4 April in BFI Southbank’s impressive NFT1 auditorium.
Tickets to the 90-minute session are FREE but are limited to just 250 (max two per order, session for ages 16 and over). To register, go to: www.universe.com/ukgamesshowcase .
Train2Gamestudents have the opportunity to take part in a month long celebration of gaming culture when The London Games Festival returns later this year.
The event runs from 27th September to 28th October and will feature exhibitions, game launches, career fairs, educational summits and more. The London Games Festival is being directed by Kirsty Payne, with the last festival in 2010 attracting 75,000 people to 26 events.
“London Games Festival is a real focus for UKIE this year,” says event director Kirsty Payne. “We’re looking to unite the whole industry in a month-long celebration of games and gaming culture, and expect this to be the biggest LGF to date.”
“Anyone can host an event under the London Games Festival banner – so we’re looking forward to getting the capital playing together and celebrating the culture of games from September 27th”she concluded.