Guillemot Keynote Heads Up Edinburgh Interactive Festival

Friday 3rd August/...French gaming supremo Ubisoft president and CEO Yves Guillemot and the man behind BBC Vision, Simon Nelson, will address this year’s Edinburgh Interactive Festival (EIF07) - the world’s only true cultural games event.

Now in its fifth year, the Edinburgh Interactive Festival is‘Expanding the Creative Culture of Games’. Newly positioned to reflect video gaming’s rise in popularity and influence, helping the festival celebrate the best of video gaming here and oversees will be some of the most influential names across the board in entertainment.

One of the most respected men in the games industry, Guillemot is the president and CEO of publisher Ubisoft which started in a back-room and now has a global workforce of more than 3,500 people. Meanwhile, Nelson is one of the most influential men at the BBC, spearheading the corporation’s digital and web ambitions.

Guillemot and his four brothers set up Ubisoft 21 years ago. Their first video game, Zombie, was made for the Amstrad computer and sold just 600 copies in its first month. Today the company boasts a string of lucrative hits, from the loveable Rayman series to the intense Splinter Cell stealth capers. Last year Ubisoft purchased the Driver franchise from failing French rival Atari– and the gaming world awaits news of progress on the next tyre-screeching instalment.

Guillemot’s keynote address kicks off the exclusive two-day gaming seminar in the heart of Edinburgh. He will deliver his speech at 10.45am on Monday August 13 at the Royal College of Physicians, in Queen Street.

The BBC’s Simon Nelson is controller of multiplatform and portfolio at BBC Vision, and spearheads the broadcaster’s digital and Web 2.0 ambitions. He is the man responsible for the BBC’s Interactive Radio Strategy, which covers its voluminous podcast output, and he has overall responsibility for BBC Vision. His address, at 3.45pm, will explore the BBC’s interactive vision and, within it, the role of games– with a rare insight into what broadcasters are learning from the games industry and some of the challenges he believes the games industry needs to urgently address.

Elsewhere, closer links to the Dare to be Digital computer games design competition will allow visitors to the festival to view some of the innovative ideas for this year’s contest. The three winning teams from this year’s programme, organised by the University of Abertay Dundee, will be short-listed for a new‘Ones to Watch’ Bafta Award, presented at the annual Video Games Awards ceremony in London in October.

Two days of conferences, aimed primarily at the games industry and the press, run in tandem with a screening programme offering the public sneak previews of some of the hottest games and developments in the pipeline. Last year the screenings proved phenomenally successful, thanks in part to assorted teasers promoted through GameStation’s 25 Scottish stores.

The conference is staged at the Royal College of Physicians, in Queen Street, Edinburgh. The screening programme, which is open to the public, will show trailers and sneak previews of key gaming works in progress. The Screenings will be free for the public to attend, with tickets available from Gamestation stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee from Monday 6th August.

For full details of the festival programme and events, along with details about registration and how to book, visit the Edinburgh Interactive Festival website at www.edinburghinteractivefestival.co.uk.

About EIF07

The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival EIEF) is managed by a committee drawn from all areas of the 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 .


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