Wednesday 20th August/... As the curtain falls on last week’s Edinburgh Interactive Festival, some of the industry’s key decision makers in video and interactive entertainment have been quick to praise the festival for continuing to increase focus on the cultural impact and relevance of games.
The festival, which this year celebrated its sixth anniversary, exists to showcase the continued popularity, growth and influence of video games, exploring their cultural impact and look at the future of interactive content.
Chris Deering, Chairman of Edinburgh Interactive Festival
“The festival at Edinburgh is to celebrate the creative culture of games and to look beyond where we are right now and try to predict the future and gain some inspiration and analysis. It's to celebrate the actual creative experience of making games. It's to celebrate the role that Scotland has in the UK's pre-eminence in the game area, and to absorb the energy of the festival in general.
“It's not a trade show and it's not a business meeting; it's really a collaboration amongst people who really enjoy what they do and although they compete with each other most of the year this is just a little bit of relaxation and a bit of blue sky thinking– a glimpse of what could lie ahead from the creative community."
Rod Cousens, CEO of Codemasters
“It's a perfect backdrop for games companies to go and express themselves, particularly in terms of demonstrating innovation. Very often when you are wrapped up in a very commercial show around the world you will not take that risk.
"You know something is building here. It's the impetus that it has. And as games are winning the battle for consumer's minds in terms of entertainment, I can see great things coming out of this."
David Yarnton, General Manager of Nintendo UK
“Nintendo has been a long time supporter of the Edinburgh Festival and we've been here because we really like the fact that a diverse group of people can enjoy the different games that we have here. There are no egos at Edinburgh Interactive. The various format holders are here to celebrate the industry. There’s something for everyone at Edinburgh Interactive: consumers, trade and people just interested in the cultural aspects of video games.
“Edinburgh has stuck true to its roots and it's a fantastic celebration of games and the culture that they bring.”
Sony Computer Entertainment UK’s managing director, Ray Maguire
“It's the sixth year that I've been here, so I've been here right from the start and it's great to see how the show has evolved over all those years.
"The thought process was that this was to be about culture and art rather than selling games and I think it's proved to be exactly that. We do talk about cultural issues and as it continues to do Sony will support it. It was great to see people from the industry at Edinburgh. It was great to see students. And it was great to see some people who just want to find out what is happening in the interactive space."
"Edinburgh has always been a unique event. It's the only place where there are no politics. It's not competitive. We're just here to talk about art and culture. And when you look at the wide array of subjects being discussed you can understand why Edinburgh is Edinburgh and it couldn't be anywhere. It's about the town, it's about the festival atmosphere and it's about the fact that people have got time discuss some of these issues without the commercial pressures on them."
Elaine Russell - Project Manager, Dare to be Digital, University of Abertay
"This festival brings people from different levels, the up and coming talent, the experts, in one place under one roof. I think it's a really good idea. We can truly discover new things and make new connections. It’s a fun business."
James Binns, Publishing Director of the Technology Division at Future Publishing
"The Edinburgh Interactive Festival gives games a chance to put its place properly amongst other entertainment... TV, comedy, movie, drama, and in that understand some things about where the media is going culturally. Every year it is different and every year you are guaranteed a few surprises."
Ed Bartlett, VP Publishing, IGA Worldwide
“It's very important. The UK has lacked a real consumer focussed show for a long time."
"These consumer focussed events are great. Obviously we have the trade event here as well, so we have all the luminaries from the games sector talking about the big challenges and the future, how we continue to grow the sector. And that's all for the benefit of the gamer."
Rik Alexander - CEO, Monumental Games
"It's a great place to meet new people. It's surprising how much business gets done. We do go out and have a few drinks but actually that fuels the business at the end of the day."
Scott Foe - Nokia
"I'll learn a few things, teach a few things and be better off for coming."
Jon Radoff, CEO, Gamer DNA inc.
"I think something like this really inspires game developers to figure out what they can do with their games next and what kind of gameplay features they can incorporate in to what they are thinking of. It's really great to see just thevariety of things happening here."
Sandy Spangler - Game Designer for Eye Toy, SCEE London Studio
"Events like the Edinburgh Festival are really important for a company like Sony because it allows us to get new games out there in front of people. It's great for us, it gets people excited and it gives us the opportunity to experience that excitement first hand."
David Braben, Founder of Frontier Developments
"It gives members of the public the opportunity to get under the skin and get behind the process of actually making games... The nice thing is that people who are huge gaming fans get a chance to see how games are put together and maybe get excited enough to want to join the industry."
Jason Coleman, Game Development Lecture, Quantem College, London
"It's a great way to find out what is going on in the industry, what's going on with other game development courses, find out what students are up to, see what the best students are capable of doing."
About Edinburgh Interactive Festival 2008
The Edinburgh Interactive Festival took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre between Sunday 10th and Tuesday 12th August 2008.
Celebrating its sixth year, the Edinburgh Interactive Festival was powered up to showcase the continued popularity, growth and influence of video games. And this year, the Interactive Festival was more synchronised with the world famous Edinburgh Festival than ever, appealing to the press, public and professionals from film, television and interactive media backgrounds alike, offering a bigger event for delegates, more consumer focusing– an overall spectacle for all.
New to Interactive Festival 2008 were Features, Exhibition and Recruitment areas specifically tailored to cater for the public - allowing them access to the latest games and job opportunities in games.
The Edinburgh Interactive Festival is managed by a committee drawn from all areas of the games industry, including publishers, developers and the two industry trade bodies: The Independent Game Developers Association (TIGA) www.tiga.org and the Entertainment&Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) www.elspa.com.