Game Republic

Singer on microphone in front of excited crowd at Format in Manchester

The journey of Format GG

Simran Whitham is a regular at GaMaYo events and has over the last few years managed to create the UKs first games nightlife event bringing together DJs, nightclub atmosphere and games, the event has grown and in 2024 will take place in Manchester and Liverpool for the first time. Game Republic is hosting an event on New Partners and PR with Gameopolis on 18th April with Gameopolis  and all guests are invited to the Re:Format VIP party afterwards. We asked Simran to tell us more….

Where did the idea for FORMAT come from?

Basically when I was a 20 year old game design student at Futureworks: School of Media in Manchester. I felt there was a lack of games industry events taking place in Manchester. Especially within creative settings. So when this originally started, I was just a 20 year old student. I just met a friend and I said, you know, I want to host a gamers meetup for gamers to meet and play games. I want an event where game enthusiasts come together. So we just hosted an event to see what would happen. We didn’t even care if only 10 people showed it. It was just a one off.  We spent £100 on Facebook ads and we had 100 people turn up. And then it just kind of went from there. We decided to do another event, and that one got 110 people, so we did another event and we just started increasing numbers in these small increments. But then we started getting interest from locally based developers. The first two developers were Andrew Benson, Prospect Games and Tim Keenan of Ginger Biscuit Games. They basically reached out to ask if they could showcase what was seemed like an underground nightlife gaming event. Then we started letting developers in to showcase games and we started getting bigger.

In 2018, I started to think outside the model and realised that the games industry did not have its own dedicated nightlife event. I set myself the mission. I wanted to build something like the Warehouse Project of video games, which I accomplished later that September. From there it just kept growing and growing. We got proof of concept, when for our S event there was a line stretching all the way around the Printworks  – that was nearly 1500 people. From there, I kind of realised this is it now.  I think the industry is ready for this. So I made it my mission to build an event celebrating the games industry and nightlife.

And it’s grown even beyond that now. It’s got so many arms. We’re a creative agency and currently in the process of rebranding and launching that later this year. We’ve won a few awards that we’re really happy about. In 2020, we had to stop everything for a couple of years. But I finally got my dream, which was a nightlife movement for the video games industry.

Simran Witham laughing with an owl on his shoulder
Simran has clearly been listening to this very wise owl 😉

So you’ve got FORMAT happening in September in Liverpool and so that’ll be the first time it’s held in Liverpool – tell us more..

It’s happening at Camp and Furnace – It’s one of the most important and iconic music venues in the city. And it’s going to be unlike anything we’ve done before, loads of playable demos from game studios, DJ’s, that kind of thing. We’re still working it all out but it’s gonna be loads of the game studios ranging all the way from AAA  to indie, more music performances than we’ve had before because we don’t have one – we have two warehouses! We are planning to have iconic music soundtracks, Afro Beats, 5 different DJ’s performing all throughout the evening, R&B, live music performances, rock, rock’n’roll and rap music. A dedicated Content Creator Lounge is coming back again, where it gives the game developers space to showcase and gives them the opportunity to get their game live streamed by industry content creators at the event as well for even more exposure. We’re also having a fashion pop-up shops. And we plan to launch our own clothing line very, very soon, so we’ve really tapped into the lifestyle fashion side of it and there’s our charity fundraising for Safe in our World and Everyone Can too.

FORMAT is Europe’s biggest games industry nightlife movement, and our Liverpool event will not only see our business go multiregional but also see us host our largest event in 8 years and give the Liverpool games industry scene the event they have deserved for a long time now!

What about the Manchester events happening in November?

Yes. FORMAT will be back in November. More news on that soon.

We can’t wait to hear more. To find out more about Game Republic events and initiatives, and to join the network click here



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