London Games Festival gets underway as video games sector given boost



We’re used to London Fashion Week. Now hoping to be a regular fixture on the London calendar is the London Games Festival. Backed by the Mayor of London, it returns for a second year on March 30, running for 10 days at various venues across the capital.

New figures to be released this week (on March 16th) are expected to show further growth in the UK’s Video Games sector, making it one of the biggest creative industries in the UK. Particularly popular are free online games such as those from Friv. 

One of the topics that will be discussed at this year’s festival is Brexit, including what it may mean for the gaming industry. Commenting will be Dr Joe Twist, CEO of the UKIE, the gaming trade body. 

Also making an appearance will be a new generation of eSports stars, UK gaming athletes who are making a living in the competitive gaming world, as well as BAFTA spokespeople promoting this year’s BAFTA games awards on April 6th.

List of key events

EGX Rezzed: Thursday March 30th – 1st April (Tobacco Dock)  The biggest consumer gaming show in  London. This show focuses on the creative indie end of the market, with hundreds of screens featuring the very best console and PC games weeks, or months, before they are on general release. The show also offers an opportunity to meet the creators at the dev sessions and talks, and if you are looking for a job in the games industry there is a GamesIndustry.Biz career fair.

AI Summit Monday 3rd of April PM  (Regent street Cinema) A series of talks on AI that closes with a Robot interrogation (celebrity host TBC)

Mixed Reality Summit 4th of April AM – (Regent Street Cinema) A series of talks and panels with the closing keynote given by John Hanke from Niantic, the company behind the cultural phenomenon Pokémon Go.

Digital Schoolhouse eSports final 4th of April Midday (Gfinity eSports Arena) Schools from all over the UK have been competing in a Rocket League tournament and the last four teams of four will be heading to London’s only dedicated eSports arena for the final. Here the winners will be awarded with a prize pot for their school. As well as competing in a real eSports tournament, the students will get to meet and learn from people within the industry including the head of eSports at Psyonix and a director at Gfinity.

Games Finance Market 5th of April (Grange City Hotel) This is a real live ‘Dragons Den’ for gaming and the UK’s only event connecting games creators with funders from around the world. The Finance Market will be open to 60 games companies and 60 investors. The successful inaugural event created new business worth over £10m, cementing London’s reputation as a centre of excellence for the global games industry.

BAFTA Games Awards 6th April (Tobacco Dock)  The British Academy Games Awards has nominated a total of 50 games showcasing the very best of the past 12 months. The nominations highlight the outstanding level of creative excellence from a broad range of UK and international development teams.

Now Play This 7th – 9th April (Somerset House)  This exhibition examines how games and the possibilities for play are evolving as it showcases the latest in game design and technology, whilst also revisiting classic favourites.

Games Character Parade Saturday 8th of April (route TBC but will finish at St Pauls)  The final Saturday of LGF will see hundreds of games characters take to the streets of London in the very special Games Festival Character Parade.


Chris Price
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