Which publishers are involved in this year's event?
This year is the first time where we have seen the majority of publishers getting involved in one way or another, which is excellent news for both the Festival and the general public.
EA and Microsoft are putting on large-scale events in Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square respectively, and events like the Eurogamer Expo and London MCM Expo will host numerous other publishers such as Eidos, Bethesda, Ubisoft and Konami. LGF 2008 is perhaps the first year where the general public can experience a broad range of games and industry discussions and get a real feel of what is coming up in 2008 and beyond.
What are the benefits of attending?
It may sound clich, but this year really has something for everyone. The Festival features several events that will interest the general public, people involved in the industry and those keen to break into it.
For example, Video Games Live is a highly entertaining event, which I strongly recommend for all gaming fans. It's a spectacular orchestral performance of the finest video game compositions, from Mario to Halo to World of Warcraft. Combined with a spellbinding multimedia show, this is one event no gaming fan should miss. And it's a great example of how music in gaming and the games we play has crossed over into mainstream culture.
For the industry there are numerous events to help equip businesses for the future, such as Games 3.0, Skills Week and various Tiga and BAFTA activities. Lastly, we have ensured there are plenty of family events that cover game launches, gaming tournaments and game safety.
Is the festival going to top last year's showing?
We definitely hope so. The number of publishers involved has increased, the number of events organised is the largest yet and the calibre of activity taking place is incredibly high – perhaps the best since the Festival began three years ago.
The gaming industry has come a long way in the last few years, and is now considered to be the UK's leading entertainment industry.
This LGF will showcase some of the finest gaming and interactive entertainment the industry currently has to offer and further show that gaming is no longer a niche hobby carried out by a few, but in fact now appeals to the masses, from casual players and families to die-hard fans.
What will be the highlights?
We are incredibly lucky this year to have such a high number of quality events taking place during the two week period.
As I mentioned before, Video Games Live at the Royal Festival Hall is one not to be missed, the London MCM Expo is a spectacular and colourful exhibition showing how gaming has infiltrated other forms of entertainment, while the Eurogamer Expo features some of the finest titles launching this Christmas. In addition, there are some real gems organised independently, such as the Grl Gmr Tournament, Games Design London and the Infinite Lives event.
Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to?
I'm afraid this might be seen as a shameless plug, but EA's event in Trafalgar Square is really exciting. It will be one of the largest infrastructures to have been built in the Square and is set to be a real extravaganza of gaming entertainment.
So is this event the UK's premiere consumer and trade event?
In respect to gaming and interactive entertainment – totally. Our long-term aim is to take it beyond the borders and make it one of the key highlights across all of Europe.
Finally, how would you sum up London Games Festival 2008?
The LGF is the UK's premiere event for showcasing the finest in gaming and interactive entertainment. It's a true celebration of our industry and consumer enthusiasm for video gaming.
This year will be the Festival's best yet, with a broad and diverse range of events set up to interest the general public, people involved in the industry and those wanting to be. Games today are as mainstream as television – anyone that loves gaming or who wants to give gaming a try should attend.