April is already a month marked out in gamer calendars with the indie gaming exhibition EGX Rezzed and the videogame Bafta awards taking place in London. But this year, things are taking a bit of a step up, with an entire gaming festival coming to the city from the 1st to the 10th of April, including these already established events in its lineup.
Announced today by a Minecraft incarnation of Boris Johnson in an in-game press conference (honestly), Games London has been funded with £1.2 million from the London Enterprise Project and its aim is to promote the UK wide gaming sector and make London the games capital of the world. I remember when living in Glasgow being repeatedly frustrated by large events only ever seeming to take place in London, and Gaming development is very much a sector that’s spread in hubs across the entirety of the UK so we hope the other development hubs won’t be forgotten and lose out on investment by the spotlight of the event being placed on the capital.
The festival is being delivered by Film London and games trade body Ukie who have ensured that as well as Rezzed and the Bafta awards, we’ll be seeing at least 15 more events in 10 venues across the city including a consumer exhibition at Somerset House, a series of talks at the British Film Institute, and a series of smaller fringe events in various locations, all of are part of a larger cultural programme which aims to promote gaming as a cutting-edge artform and worthy of investment.
Chair of Games London and the London Games Festival, Andy Payne, sees the event as a big opportunity: “London is the global capital of finance and can now be the global capital of digital creativity and interactive entertainment. The Creative Industries in the UK are world class, and the UK games industry is a key component of this winning sector. The London Games Festival with the financial backing of the LEP will shine the light on the UK’s talent pool and help the financial community understand the massive commercial and communal opportunities on show. For businesses of all sizes, access to finance is key, and The London Games Festival will deliver these opportunities.”
It’s exciting to see the UK trying its arm at hosting a gaming event that spans an entire city after many years without one, and considering this is the first in what is intended to be an annual festival we can only hope it will grow in size and success. Games have certainly been maturing as a medium over the years, and the UK gaming industry deserves the opportunity to develop with greater access to cultural and financial growth.
If you want to keep up to date with everything happening at the festival you can visit the website here and sign up for the newsletter. See you there! (As if I’d miss this).