Yorkshire Games Festival – 9th-13th November

national-media-museumThe first Yorkshire Games Festival has been announced, and will take place at the National Media Museum in Bradford from 9th-13th November, 2016, in partnership with Game Republic.

The Yorkshire Games Festival aims to establish itself as a leading event in the UK videogames calendar, with talks from leading games industry professionals, training workshops, panels and a celebration of Yorkshire’s proud videogames heritage, that includes companies such as Team17 (Worms) and Revolution (Broken Sword).

The Yorkshire Games Festival is also collaborating with the University of Bradford, Bradford College and other organisations to attract delegates interested in developing a career in videogame development. A weekend family event on the Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November will also take place to bring the fun and technology of videogames to a wider audience. More details on the festival, including speakers, will be revealed in June.

Game Republic event with Amazon Appstore

amazon_appstore_blackOur next Game Republic business networking event will be this Wednesday 18th May in Leeds with Amazon Appstore.

 The event will be an opportunity for games developers and universities/colleges to meet the UK Technology Evangelist at Amazon Appstore and find out more about the platform, including Amazon Underground (where all apps are free and developers are paid per-minute), fan engagement with Merch by Amazon, plus Fire OS 5, Amazon Coins, Fire TV and more.
There will also be invaluable information on improving your Appstore rank – how to make your game or app successful, with strategies and tactics on getting more downloads, good reviews and high monetisation and avoiding costly mistakes. Simply essential info for mobile games developers. After the talk, there will be refreshments nearby courtesy of Amazon.
Game Republic members go free – for more information, hit the event website.

Game Republic partners with Interface 2016

Interface logo blockGame Republic is partnering with the upcoming Interface 2016 event on Thursday 5th May in London.

Interface 2016 is a unique event from industry publications Develop and MCV and will showcase the hottest talent from the games industry, where over 350 publishers, developers and investors from the sector will meet up to enjoy talks, pitching, private meetings and networking.

Featured speakers include Mike Bithell (Mike Bithell Games), Dan Pinchbeck (The Chinese Room), Debbie Bestwick (Team17) and Charles Cecil (Revolution) as well as key publishers and industry contacts including All 4 Games, KISS and Unity. Game Republic members also receive a 10% discount – hit the website for more information.

Game Republic Makes Real and Virtual Connections at GDC 2016

IMG_8184Over 27,000 visitors went to the 20th Game Developers Conference 2016 (GDC) in San Francisco, USA last week from 14th – 18th March. It was the biggest GDC event yet with more exhibitors, more attendees, more tech and more games to see and play than ever before.

Numbers were boosted by Game Republic’s contribution – leading a UK Trade & Investment “Northern Powerhouse” mission to the show and appearing on the superb Ukie stand at the GDC Expo (pictured above).

UKTI and GR took more than 40 companies from across Yorkshire and the North of England (as well as a few smuggled in from the West Midlands) to the event to meet with major publishers and platform-holders, including Microsoft, Sony and Google. The meetings could well result in new opportunities for the companies that joined us to produce new titles and gain greater global interest in the fantastic games we produce in the North.

Fest Of Fun

GDC is the must-attend event for games companies with global ambition. No wonder really when the programme includes world-class technical bootcamps, networking drinks, superb industry talks, star panels, networking drinks, incredible games showcases (such as the IGF – Independent Games Festival), award shows, mindblowing live demos, pop-up shops and dozens of industry networking parties – did I mention those? It’s a festival of games.

Alongside GDC is Game Connection, a separate speed-dating business event that took place over three days of the week. Not in any old meeting room though – this year the networking took place at the San Francisco Giants’ baseball stadium, AT&T Park. The space was a popular spot for developers to have more than 20 meetings a day (using the online meeting schedule system) to hook up with platform-holders, publishers and other developers.

Back to GDC, where there were some great talks, including discussions on how to encourage more diversity in the games industry – ensuring more women get the support and opportunities in games. Other presentations included the funding of games and the different models to get support, the increasing visibility of games (with so many releases every week) plus the growing importance (and profits) of eSports.

Virtual Reality Check

As well as the getting insider and global insights on securing real opportunities for the developers, a huge focus for GDC this year was Virtual Reality (VR). I have seen VR at GDC over the years, but this year there has been a major gearshift, with three major platforms to be launched over next few months – the Oculus Rift, HTC/Valve Vive and PlayStation VR – plus a dedicated VR track for attendees.

IMG_8177How rapidly mainstream VR is going to get adopted across markets remains to be seen, but there looked to be a good appetite for it from games fans and the industry. Our companies were able to see many, many VR demos at GDC, from virtual rollercoasters to flying experiences complete with full physical rig and wind machine (see photo – left).

For me Epic Games’ Bullet Train on the Oculus VR was very impressive (nicely demonstrating the power of Unreal Engine 4 in VR), and the Vive continues to amaze with its full room virtual experience.

However, it was Sony’s PlayStation VR announcement that grabbed most of the headlines, with an announcement that the PlayStation 4 headset add-on would be £349 and launched in October, along with more than 200 games to be released before the end of the year. Pre-orders sold out within 45 minutes on Amazon (and I bagged one of them).

One of the most impressive design features of the Sony headset at GDC was the comfort with easy functionality to move the headset backwards and forwards meaning it can fit over glasses and avoids the tight straps that have often been an issue with the other VR head sets. I was lucky to get a chance to play a few multiplayer games, including one where I was a virtual Ghostbuster. The game involved shining a torch in a virtual playroom to find ghosts and hitting the PlayStation controller pad to suck up the spirits, while the other players helped to locate the remaining ghouls on the main TV. Not particularly complex but looks really nice in VR.

Other impressive demos in VR included Rebellion’s Battlezone (based on the old coin-op) and a new virtual version of Mizuguchi’s mesmerizing game Rez Infinite.

North at its Heights

Stepping away from VR was a challenge, but just two of the new games worth watching out for in reality were Dreams by Media Molecule, an incredible game/creative tool that allows players to make environments, characters and animations, play with them and share online and Astroneer by System Era, a beautiful planet exploration game with you as an astronaut armed with the ability to instantly terraform the landscape around them.

GDC 2016 showed the global games industry in good health, forging ahead with new tech innovations, and creating incredible titles on mobile, console, PC and web. It was great and inspiring that our Yorkshire and Northern companies such as Cardboard Sword, Red Kite Games, Team17, Double Eleven, Sumo Digital, Team Pesky, Draw & Code and Revolution Software are right there at the cutting edge of development, leading the world, innovating and developing amazing games.

Jamie Sefton
Managing Director, Game Republic
23rd March 2016

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Game Republic at GDC 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 19.18.57Game Republic will be heading out to the Game Developers Conference 2016 in San Francisco, USA, 14th – 18th March as the lead games industry representative for the UK Trade & Investment mission.

More than 40 companies from the North of England and West Midlands UK, including Team17, Red Kite Games, Prospect Games, Hewson Consultants, Double Eleven, Cardboard Sword, Dubit and Team Pesky, will be attending GDC 2016 and looking for more opportunities for business. Game Republic has set up meetings for the UKTI mission with various platform-holders and publishers, and will also be at the Ukie/UKTI stand at the GDC Expo booth 1016 from Wednesday to Friday at various times.

If you would like to know more about the talented UK companies visiting GDC 2016, just get in touch. See you in San Francisco!