12 August 2013
Eight North West games businesses have signed up to a trade mission to Gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair for interactive games and entertainment.
The North West’s digital and creative sector is one of the largest in Europe, making up more than 10 per cent of the region’s workforce in this sector and generating more than 10 per cent of its wealth. With digital hubs in both Liverpool and Manchester, this industry is essential for the growth of the regional economy.
Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW) is offering a free, exclusive package to games developers, distributors and publishers in the North West region to maximise their European sales opportunities at Gamescom between 21-23 August 2013. EENW is also teaming up with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) North West to provide funding for eligible companies looking to start or develop exporting their products or services overseas.
Rodolphe Soulard, senior European business adviser at EENW, explains: “The North West is home to a huge creative sector, ranging from start-ups to well-established organisations. EENW is proud to support this sector’s continued growth by raising the profile of regional businesses, increasing sales opportunities and technical cooperation and hopefully creating jobs.
“Gamescom is a key event in the games industry, as all the big names are under one roof. We know that visiting such a show can be time-consuming and expensive for SMEs, that’s why we’ve tailored our package to their needs and pre-arranged one-to-one meetings with potential clients to maximise the value of their visit.”
The eight games companies that EENW will be supporting at Gamescom demonstrate the breadth of expertise that exists within the North West.
Founded in 2008, Liverpool-based Thumbstar Games is an established developer and publisher of mobile content with over 170 distribution channels globally. Lately, the company has been appointed as a sole provider to China Telecom's gaming platform and also a Grade A partner to China Mobile.
Martin Kitney, CEO at Thumbstar, said: “On top of our existing close connections to platform holders and hardware manufacturers, our recent contract with China Mobile represents the next big potential to develop our business in the Chinese market – the fastest growing market in the world. We are looking for new games to launch over there starting in August. Games developers interesting in developing their business worldwide can rely on our proven track record in the distribution activity.”
Start-up GloLiquid in Liverpool is launching a new, innovative cloud-based platform to help indie developers bring their products to market, and it is hoping Gamescom will launch it into the wider games community.
Glynne Owen, Founder of GloLiquid, said: “Having developed games myself, I know how hard it can be to get games tested in order to appeal to a community. It is with this in mind that I have developed a new platform. New users can try the games, feedback to developers and collaborate together on the finished version. The platform enables the developer to create a community before the game is launched, hence making it more successful.”
Runcorn-based d3t specialises in offering consulting and contract services to the games development sector. As a pure work-for-hire company, they add value to games, app and software development activities through tech development, optimisation and porting services. Jamie Campbell, CEO at d3t, says: “At this year’s Gamescom, a project we have been working on for a client will be revealed. We are very excited about this.”
He adds: “This will demonstrate that coupled with over 15 years of expertise in the industry developing business software, mobile games and applications, PC, Mac and console games and embedded systems, d3t is the right partner of games developers whether they want look into entering the lucrative UK market or develop new cost-effective games and technologies.”
Paw Print Games is an independent studio based in Chester developing unique games for various platforms. The studio’s first title, KAMI RETRO, launched for the iPhone and has received critical success, including “App Store Game of the Week”, a top 50 meta critic rating of 78% and is continually featured in numerous App Store categories including Greatest Platformers.
Anthony White, Paw Print’s founder, said: “The studio is constantly looking for new innovative IPs to develop. We are very excited about working on the recent Swashbuckler platformer featuring Julius the iconic monkey from the Paul Frank fashion brand. I believe Gamescom will be a great venue to meet with new games developers and IP owners.”
Manchester-based Tagstar is a leading casual and mobile games publisher across online, Android, iOS, PC and Mac platforms. Launched only three years ago, Tagstar has quickly established itself in the casual games space with its titles charting on leading portals such as iWin, including a #1 Hidden Object title. Lately, Tagstar has established a business and marketing consultancy arm for a number of well-known publishers and indie developers, achieving 100 per cent success rate in securing new revenues and business deals.
“The past three years have been an exciting time for Tagstar”, says Steve Tagger, Founder of Tagstar. “We have successfully established Tagstar as a key publisher in the industry, and we are now looking to grow the company and I believe Gamescom will provide us with the opportunities to meet with IP holders and casual games developers that will take us to the next level.”
Nomad Games Limited was founded in 2011 by a team that has developed many successful games over two decades. Racing game Juiced, for example, topped the 'All-Format Charts' in the UK in 2005. Today, Nomad Games has a strong relationship with Games Workshop, a UK company famous for tabletop gaming, and is releasing a series of mobile and PC games based on the seminal Fantasy Board Game Talisman. The first release of the game reached number one in its category on the App Store in 27 countries and top 10 in over 120 countries.
Don Whiteford, a Nomad Games founder, said: “We are currently focussed on licensed IP and the development of virtual board, card and dice games which represent a huge market. At Gamescom, we will be looking to meet with overseas partners to help Nomad Games grow further.”
Manchester-based Flipbook is an animation and visual effects company providing CGI and 2D animation services to the games and media industry. With more than 20 years’ experience, their team has been producing cinematic trailers, benchmark movies, cut-scene animations, live-film VFX, storyboards, concept art and creative treatments for games (Metal Gear Rising, Kinect Sports Rivals), successful films (Gulliermo del Toro’s The Captured Bird), advertising (Vodafone, Cussons) and broadcast (BBC, ITV, National Geographic, Discovery Channel).
Andrew Lord, founder of Flipbook, said: “Over the past couple of years, Flipbook has been very successful in working with video games developers and publishers providing both a supportive art service during game development and stunning cinematic trailers for games promotion. We’ve been gradually forging strong relationships with some of the biggest games development studios and UK broadcast companies.
“Going to Gamescom represents a great opportunity for us to launch our latest internal CGI short film which showcases our life-like character modelling and animation skills, and also meet new clients to take our company to the next level.”
Ripstone is an indie-focussed videogames publisher based in Liverpool. Their focus is on the ever-growing digital gaming space, be that downloadable console gaming, browser-based games or mobile. The company’s ethos is all about making awesome games and giving talented indie developers the platform and creative control that they deserve. With almost 60 years of collective industry experience, many of the Ripstone team have actually come from development backgrounds and understand the importance of enabling developers to maintain their games vision.
Amy Langton, PR and marketing executive at Ripstone, said: "We’re honoured to be exhibiting some amazing indie titles this year at Gamescom; FlyHunter: Origins, Pure Chess and Stick it to the Man. Delegates will be able to come and say hello to the Ripstone team and Klaus Lyngeled of Zoink! Games, the creative mind behind Stick it to the Man."