Game Republic to host Northern Lights panel at Develop Brighton

Game Republic will again be partnering with major UK game developer conference Develop: Brighton, 11th-13th July, and in addition, Game Republic MD Jamie Sefton will be chairing a special business panel with the first two panelists confirmed Bobby Thandi (XR Games), Simon Iwanisak (Red Kite Games) and more speakers to be announced shortly.

Northern Lights will celebrate Game Republic’s 20th anniversary this year and will be looking at the factors that drive success for games companies in Yorkshire and The North and the incredible history of games making in the region. Looking to the future, Jamie will be asking panelists to share their insights and what they will be doing to support sector success going forward. Game Republic members will get a 10% discount on Early Bird tickets if they book before 6th April 2023 using the code KMDHCK 

“As a region, we have great successes to share and examples of how companies can collaborate with each other, with educational institutions and suppliers through networks to enhance their business,” says Sefton. “Our partnership and this panel with Develop: Brighton will be another great way for us to mark our 20-year anniversary.”

picture of Simon IwaniszakSimon Iwaniszak has over 17 years of industry experience, the last 11 spent running the multi-award-winning development studio, Red Kite Games. Founded by Simon in 2012, Red Kite is now part of the Sumo Digital family of studios. Having built a reputation for delivering a high-quality service creating AAA PC/console games across varying genres, Red Kite supports multiple world-class publishing partners. Before Red Kite, Simon started his career at Rockstar working on incredible franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. Simon is a proud Ambassador of the games charity SpecialEffect – which Game Republic is supporting all year – and provides consultation for several Yorkshire-based universities.

Bobby Thandi wearing virtual headsetBobby Thandi is the Founder and CEO of XR Games – an award-winning VR game development studio. Bobby secures contracts from key clients such as Sony Pictures and develops key relationships with global partners such as Meta, Microsoft, Valve, and others. Bobby is responsible for attracting top tier talent as XR Games rapidly scales off the back of the hit VR game ‘Zombieland: Headshot Fever’. Bobby has won an array of awards including ‘Creative Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the 2022 Great British Entrepreneur Awards and ‘Leeds City Region Leader’ at the 2021 Northern Leadership Awards. Bobby was also a 2022 ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year’ finalist.

Link to the business panels at Develop: Brighton here

#GR20 @developconf

Pitching Event Gets Snowed Under!

picture of David from Tencent GamesDavid Valjalo, Creative Director of Strategic Partnerships at Tencent Games joined Game Republic members online to discuss their investing in games, when heavy snow meant that most of Yorkshire and The North could not travel to the event which was due to take place at Eagle Labs, Avenue HQ in Leeds. Thanks to Zoom, nearly 40 companies were able to attend the online event which provided insider insights into how to pitch to publishers and investors.

Rob Hewson talks pitching tips

Rob Hewson, CEO & Creative Director at Huey Games also joined the session, presenting useful tips and advice to help companies pitch their games to publishers and platform-holders, such as “Start with the Art”, in that you should always have your artwork upfront in pitch decks. Jamie Sefton, a well-seasoned GDC attendee heading to the event as part of a DIT trade mission, then shared his tips for looking after yourself and making the most of the event, such as buying the cheaper GDC Expo Pass and checking your meeting locations to make sure you arrive on time.

At the event Jamie also announced a special bonus webinar on 23rd May with Valve. Find more info and links in the Event Calendar.

Thanks to our 20th Anniversary Official Partners: Barclays, Red Kite Games and Escape Technology #GR20

To get FREE access to Game Republic events – join Game Republic

Game Republic’s Jamie Sefton celebrates incredible Games Industry in Barclays video feature

Jamie Sefton, MD of Game Republic has declared Yorkshire’s friendliness, location and social scene as a good reason for businesses to set up in Yorkshire and The North in a feature about Game Republic by Barclays.

The feature which is now live on Barclays’ Games Hub focused on the heritage and legacy of the network as well as what is lined up for the 20th Anniversary year which has been supported by Official Partners Barclays, Red Kite Games and Escape Technology.

Jamie Sefton with a banner with Official Partner logos

Jamie outlines the forthcoming programme of events being supported by Official Partners Barclays, Red Kite Games and Escape Technology

When asked about the work of Game Republic “Events are just the tip of the iceberg,” Jamie explained to Elaine Dowman, Barclays Head of Games and Creative. He went on to explain how much of the support provided to Game Republic members is behind the scenes, introducing companies to publishers, platform-holders, Universities and colleges to industry speakers and helping all the companies to “listening and meeting companies to help them to get the support they need that will make a big difference to their business.”

Commenting about the support of Game Republic’s work, one of the companies that helped to establish Game Republic in 2003, Revolution Software’s Charles Cecil recently said “Revolution has gained so much from our membership whether it’s having the opportunity to meet and speak to key industry representatives (one deal led to many millions of pounds of business); learn of new services; share ideas and opportunities with like-minded colleagues; and so much more. Steering a perfect balance between business and social, we are blessed to have such a brilliant organisation to champion, advocate, and support developers in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. Raising a glass to the next 20.”

Jamie’s passion for the region and how supportive the industry is to each other shone through the interview as he explained how he had been helped by larger companies like Sumo in the early stages of making the network independent after he was made redundant.

“We are lucky to have companies like Team17 and Revolution who have helped keep wealth within the region.” He continued, stating that the power of the ecosystem is key to success in Yorkshire and The North. He highlighted events like the Student Showcase that enhance talent. With GaMaYo which is managed by Game Republic and events like Leeds Games Toast led by Andrew Crawshaw, he emphasised that the support and the friendliness in the region is a good reason to set up here and to join Game Republic. “Bigger companies, Affiliates and Universities supporting the smaller companies has always been at the heart of Game Republic.”

The next Game Republic business networking event is a pre-GDC special on pitching and securing business at events courtesy of Barclays Eagle Lab at AvenueHQ in Leeds 
David Valjalo, Creative Director of Strategic Partnerships at Tencent will present opportunities for developers and have a Q&A session on pitching to investors. We’ll also have a Q&A with Rob Hewson, CEO & Creative Director at Huey Games, about how they pitch to publishers at GDC. Event produced as part of the 20th Anniversary supported by Official Partners Red Kite Games, Barclays and Escape Technology! Book here

If you would like access to this event and all Game Republic events for the year for FREE – please get in touch about joining.





Game Republic exceeds annual fundraising target in 5 weeks

screenshot of justgiving page showing 107% targetGame Republic’s 20th Anniversary year of events has already exceeded its annual fundraising target, after just five weeks into the year. As part of the year-long event programme which has been supported by Official Partners, Escape Technology, Red Kite Games and Barclays, Game Republic is working with SpecialEffect as Charity Partner. SpecialEffect raises funds that ensure people (especially children) with disabilities can access and enjoy videogames.

Jamie Sefton MD at Game Republic is delighted that the initiative has already raised £1075 (£75 over the £1000 target), he said “This is great and testimony to the generosity we have in our games community. We overshot the target when we were hosting the Game Republic Speakers Dinner with Yorkshire Games Festival and I could not be happier! We will continue to support the fundraising campaign for SpecialEffect through the year. I am excited to see how much is raised by the end of 2023, after such a fantastic start.”

Game Republic has 8 more events including four flagship events for games companies and developers in Yorkshire and The North in 2023, all of which will include opportunities for people to donate to SpecialEffect.

Commenting about Game Republic’s fundraising efforts, Nick Streeter, fundraiser for the SpecialEffect charity said “Game Republic have been fantastic friends and supporters of SpecialEffect over our 15 years and we are so grateful as they celebrate their 20th anniversary that they have chosen to support SpecialEffect as their charity partner. We look forward to working with the Game Republic community this year to make a difference to the lives of more and more gamers with disabilities who need our help.”

Proud to support SpecialEffect banner

Game Republic Reception and Dinner Celebrates Yorkshire Games Festival

Game company members at MyLahore Restaurant in BradfordMyLahore restaurant in Bradford was the perfect vibrant setting for the annual Game Republic Speakers Dinner that has become a staple of the Yorkshire Games Festival. Games companies joined speakers and organisers of the festival beforehand for a reception at the National Science and Media Museum where Jamie Sefton thanked the Museum for hosting the festival that puts the spotlight on Yorkshire, the North and the wider UK games industry.

Addressing the crowd at the Museum, MD of Game Republic, Jamie Sefton, thanked the many supporters for helping Game Republic reach its 20th Anniversary: “I’d personally like to thank all our members for their incredible support through 20 years of the network – especially in 2011 when we lost public funding but were backed privately and so enthusiastically by the games companies, and in 2020-2021 during those difficult pandemic years.”

Game company members at the reception at the National Science and Media Museum

The Yorkshire Games Festival began eight years ago and has grown in popularity with an extensive programme of talks and activities for all ages. On 9th February 2023, the festival will celebrate the heritage of Yorkshire’s games industry in a BAFTA panel featuring Game Republic members Andrew Crawshaw (Thunkd) and Abbie Willett (Sumo).

Game Republic was instrumental in the establishing of the Yorkshire Games Festival and this year it has formed part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations of the network. At the reception, Jamie thanked the Official Partners supporting Game Republic in this important milestone year.

“Having Red Kite Games, Escape Technology and Barclays as Official Partners in 2023 means such a lot,” said Sefton. “Each one of our Official Partners are making a massive impact on the games industry in the region and far beyond. Thanks to Red Kite Games for employing graduates and creating and supporting incredible games development, Barclays for providing support, finance and insights to our industry and Escape Technology who provide invaluable help to our companies to source the technology they need to bring incredible games for us all to play.”

Jamie Sefton with Neil Parmar and John Stopforth from Escape Technology

Jamie Sefton with Neil Parmar and John Stopforth from Escape Technology

To find more information about the programme of events for the Yorkshire Games Festival visit the website. To join the Game Republic network click here.

Featured Banner Image Jo Quinton-Tulloch, Director of National Science and Media Museum, Kathryn Penny, Leeds Trinity College and Conor Clarke, Boneloaf

The event also raised funds for SpecialEffect as part of the continued fundraising campaign for Game Republic’s 20th Anniversary. To donate to this fantastic cause that gives more people, especially children, access to videogames, please visit our Game Republic fundraising page.

Game Republic 20 Years – Banner with Red Kite Games, Barclays and Escape Technology