Beginning in December with a pitching workshop led by Get In The Game producers Pixel-Lab, the Northwest Vision&Media funded pilot-project gave five companies from the Northwest of England£10,000 to develop their game concepts in the first quarter of 2009. April saw those companies entering the boardroom at Sony’s Liverpool Development Studios to pitch their games directly to the publishing giant, an unprecedented chance for small companies to become developers for the PLAYSTATION®Network (PSN).
After a full day of pitches and demos, the board (which consisted of Phil Gaskell (Senior Producer at Sony XDev Studios Europe, Graeme Ankers (Game Director at Liverpool Studio), and Clemens Wangerin (Development Director at Liverpool Studio)) selected two out of the five games to go forward for internal‘green-light’ meetings, and one project to be considered for further development in the future.
Phil Gaskell, Senior Producer at Sony X-Dev Studio Europe, said,“It was reassuring to see a commitment of public funding like this from Northwest Vision&Media and it's clearly helped the teams involved strengthen their skills in many areas. I'm confident we'll be taking some of the ideas generated through this initiative to market.”
Enda Carey, Head of Games and Digital Content at Northwest Vision&Media, said,“We were delighted with the response to the first Get in the Game project and encouraged by the quality of content that has come through. We hope to be able to extend the scheme this year to offer more companies in the region the opportunity to get involved with game development and we feel this is a clear role for Northwest Vision and Media”
Get In The Game began with a two day pitching workshop at Liverpool Innovation Park, where companies from the digital content and gaming sectors in the Northwest received a crash-course in how to pitch to big publishers. As well as a crash course in how to pitch by Pixel-Lab Managing Director Toby Barnes, the attendees also heard about audience research and developing prototypes from Rattle Research’s James Boardwell and Frankie Roberto, and Sony’s X-Statement from SCEE Senior Producer Leo Cubbin.
The emphasis for the project was not only to get regional developers talking to Sony, but also to increase their ability to pitch to a level that will impress them. This isn’t just about confidence in speaking, but saying and showing the right things, and working all aspects of a concept up to the point where a publisher has no questions to ask and only one things to say–“Yes.”
Toby Barnes, Managing Director of Get In The Game producers Pixel-Lab, said, "We were really pleased with the final quality of the pitches, the teams had made huge leaps in terms of understanding the commissioning process, their audiences, and what was expected of them. We are really looking forward to this years new recruits and are expecting an even higher quality bar."
The Get In The Game companies:
• Citrus Suite (Liverpool)
• Catalyst outsourcing (Liverpool)
• Onteca (Liverpool)
• The Game Creators (Bollington)
• Ucan.tv (Manchester)
The five companies have been blogging about their experiences over the course of the project at http://getinthegame.squarespace.com.
Get In The Game will be happening again with Sony in the last quarter of 2009.
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Notes For The Editor:
About Northwest Vision and Media
Northwest Vision and Media works on behalf of the digital and creative industries in the Northwest to grow a world-class digital and creative economy within the region. We provide strategic leadership, help to build businesses, we develop skills and talent, encourage and invest in production and inspire audiences. Find out more at www.visionandmedia.co.uk
About Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), based in London, is responsible for the distribution, marketing and sales of PLAYSTATION®3, PlayStation®2, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) and PlayStation®Network software and hardware in 99 territories across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Oceania. SCEE also develops, publishes markets and distributes entertainment software for these formats, and manages the third party licensing programs for the formats in these territories. Since the launch of PLAYSTATION 3 in November 2006, over 21.3 million units have been sold globally and continue to be sold at a record level. Maintaining its position as one of the most successful consumer electronic products in history, PlayStation 2 has sold over 136.3 million systems worldwide. Since its launch at the end of 2004, over 50 million PSPs have been sold globally, highlighting the importance of the portable entertainment market. With the huge increase in interest and accessibility of network applications and network gaming, over 20 million accounts have registered to PlayStation Network, the free-to-access interactive environment, and over 380 million items have been downloaded.
Pixel-Lab are a computer games and digital media development agency working across the UK’s computer game and digital media industries. Pixel-Lab advises, develops and delivers strategies to support growth in the games industry from skills development to support infrastructure. Pixel-Lab also works with organisations outside the industry, enabling them to harness the power of games.