Shadow Minister for Culture
Ed Vaizey was elected as the MP for Wantage and Didcot in May 2005. Since November 2006, he has been the Conservative Party’s Shadow Minister for Culture. He is already well known within the games industry for having strong views on its cultural and commercial significance.
He tells MCV: “I’m delighted to be speaking to the London Games Conference. The games sector is one of the most successful creative industries in the UK, but it has been forgotten by Government.
“While Canada and France aggressively compete to attract talent, all our politicians can talk about is video games violence.
“Yet games should be a dream for a politician – it recruits people qualified in difficult subjects, like maths and computer science; it’s regional; and it’s successful and world-beating. Government backing should be a no-brainer.”
Former president of SCE Worldwide Studios
In 1992, Phil Harrison became the the first employee of Sony’s game business in Europe.
Over the next 16 years he held senior management positions in Europe and the US and played a key role in the launch of PlayStation 1, 2 and 3 as well as the PSP.
In 2000, after a four year spell as vice president at Sony Computer Entertainment America, he returned to Europe as executive vice president of SCEE’s development resource.
In this position, he oversaw the introduction of game-changing franchises such as EyeToy and SingStar – now deservedly looked back on as the time casual console gaming was born. In 2005 he became president of SCE Worldwide Studios.
He left Sony in 2008 a modern development legend – but soon re-emerged as president of a reinvigorated, online-focused Atari alongside David Gardner.
Although he resigned from day-to-day management of the publisher a year later he continues to serve as a board member of the public company.
He currently divides his time between looking after his young family and advising various entertainment, media and technology companies.
Founder and Director, Parker Consulting
After a spell as head of business analysis for Nintendo, Nick Parker joined Sony Computer Entertainment Europe as the division’s ‘numbers man’ (otherwise known as VP, strategic planning) and was instrumental in the launches of the PlayStation and PS2. He then set up Atari’s online casual gaming site, gamenation.com, before founding Parker Consulting. The company is now recognised as the European games industry’s foremost strategic business consultancy specialising in research and forecasting.
Mark Gerhard joined Jagex in February 2008 from GTECH where he served as the principle security architect for the National Lottery. He has over 14 years’ experience in the technology sector.
Managing Director, Intent Media
A business journalist and media owner for 23 years, Stuart Dinsey entered the video games industry via Computer Trade Weekly (CTW) in April 1986, becoming editor in 1988 and holding the role for a further ten years. Dinsey founded entertainment and leisure specialist Intent Media in 1998.
His first launch was the market-leading publication and B2B website, MCV. Intent Media has developed into one of the UK’s leading business media specialists. Via a mixture of organic launches and acquisition, Dinsey has developed Intent’s print, online and events portfolio across a variety of sectors.
CEO and co-founder, Playfish
Playfish is one of the largest and fastest growing social games companies in the world – and, if reports are to be believed, one of the most watched by industry giants hungry for an acquisition.
As an experienced games entrepreneur, company founder Kristian Segerstrale brings strategic vision and expertise in leadership of creative teams and corporate growth to the company. Prior to founding Playfish in late 2007, Kristian was a co-founder and later managing director of Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) for Glu Mobile, a leading global publisher of mobile games.
During his tenure there he forged key licensor relationship across Europe with leading companies such as Konami, Celador and Codemasters among others.
CEO, ICO Partners
Thomas Bidaux started his games career more than ten years ago at France Telecom, within the GOA team, which went on to produce the most successful MMORPG on the market at the time, Dark Age of Camelot.
In 2004, he left to set up the European subsidiary of the online game giant NCsoft in the UK. As the director of development for the company, he managed the team responsible for bringing several major MMOs to the European market, including Guild Wars and City of Heroes. In April 2008, he founded consulting agency ICO Partners, which guides indie studios seeking to enter the online games market.
The Chairman of ELSPA since 2005, Andy Payne has been working in the games industry since 1986. He founded the ELSPA Digital Distribution Group and also serves on the BAFTA games committee and is chairman of GamesAid.
He is also managing director of the Mastertronic Group, which has labels Just Flight and Just Trains, Blast, Sold Out, PC Gamer Presents. He recently founded digital distribution specialist Get Games with Eurogamer. In addition, he founded The Producers in 1988, which is a turnkey fulfillment and digital distribution company that is part of the Mastertronic group.
Managing Director, Revolution Software
Revolution is Europe’s leading adventure
game developer and Charles Cecil himself has been a key figure in the games industry for over 25 years.
Its Broken Sword series, which sells an average of a million units per iteration, is the most successful adventure franchise to have appeared on any games console.
In 2006 Charles was awarded the status of ‘industry legend’ by Develop, Europe’s leading development magazine. In 2009 he created Revolution Pocket, a division dedicated to digital distribution and self-publishing.
Marketing Director, Direct2Drive
Working out of Direct2Drive’s London office, Rich Keen has been instrumental in growing the business over the last 12 months, developing it into one of the UK’s leading digital distribution retailers.
Prior to Direct2Drive, he was at Dennis Publishing, following eight years in the music business, where he held executive roles in both marketing and talent management.
Network Director, Sega
Nick Pili has worked in the video games industry for ten years, managing all aspects of online services. He launched his first digital download title back in February 2002, Codemasters’ Operation Flashpoint: Red Hammer.
Since then he has launched a raft of digital download content for franchises that include Colin McRae Rally, TOCA Race Driver and Lord of the Rings. For the last three years Pili has worked as network director for Sega, managing US and European PC digital download strategy, covering franchises such as Total War, Football Manager and Olympic Video Games.
Product Director, The Hut
Gian Luzio has been involved in the games industry for over 15 years, working for publishers and retailers. He established Play.com as the largest UK games e-tailer before taking up his current position as product director at The Hut Group.
The Hut Group provides e-commerce solutions for a number of the largest UK retailers and in September won The Sunday Times Tech Track. Luzio has been working with leading UK download providers and content owners to create a full download solution for consumers.
Business Group Director, GfK Chart-Track
Dorian Bloch was a founding partner of Chart-Track in 1996 – the well-respected UK independent specialist entertainment research firm that recently became part of the GfK Group.
Recently he helped set up an exhaustive database of game developers (every game sold in the UK in the past decade) on which The Develop 100 is based. He has been instrumental in the formation of a new panel tracking mobile phone game downloads. Currently he is exploring the world of PC game digital downloads.
Since starting out in the video game industry in 1987, Tony Mott has worked as as a pixel artist, producer, marketer and journalist. He now works at Future as editor-in-chief of Edge magazine.
Director, PlayStation Home
Pete Edward joined Sony Computer Entertainment in 2000 as a producer and boasts a discography that includes The Getaway: Black Monday and SCEE’s first ever online multiplayer game, Hardware: Online Arena. He is responsible for the development, support and operational running of the PlayStation Home service.
Head of Xbox UK and Ireland
Neil Thompson has overall responsibility for Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division in the UK and Ireland – including the sales and marketing of all of Microsoft’s products sold through retail. He has also overseen the impressive growth in Microsoft’s online gaming service, Xbox Live, throughout the territories. Thompson previously held the same role for Central & Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, Greece, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa).