While we have EIEF north of the border, for years the games industry had been crying out for a London-based celebration of gaming culture.
And it finally arrived in 2006, the first year that the UK games industry stepped up to the mark to launch London Games Festival, with the full backing of the London Development Agency.
2007's event was the biggest yet, with events ranging from EA's spectacular Be the One event (see boxout), the BAFTA Video Games Awards to a set of hugely varied Fringe events.
So what can we expect from London Games Festival 2008? Electronic Arts' UK managing director Keith Ramsdale explains all...
How will this year's event differ from last year?
This year's Festival still promises something for everyone but it will be bigger and better for 2008.
There will be more events with many more partners involved this time around. We have also created some ‘off-the-peg' event solutions to make it easier for smaller publishers to get involved and take part.
We're very much looking forward to bringing the Festival back to the capital again this year.
Can you give us an idea of the level of spending on this year's event?
The Festival is different to most other industry events in that publishers invest in their own productions but pay nothing towards the overall running of the LGF – all services are offered free of charge. Apart from the investment from the LDA (London Development Agency), it is hard to predict the final spend for the week-long Festival but it is safe to say it will run into millions.
What level of backing have you received from the industry so far?
It's looking really positive. Now we have set a bench mark and it is clear more companies want to get involved – but we still need more support.
We were delighted with the feedback from those who took part in last year's Festival and it has finally opened the industry's eyes to LGF's potential.
If we get the full support of the industry, the Festival can become a major annual event in the capital's calendar. The opportunities are endless.
Are you confident that this year's Festival can build on the foundations set last year and unify the industry behind one major event?
The responses to date have certainly been extremely positive and it is clear that more publishers than ever are beginning to appreciate the full value – and worth – of a Festival celebrating our industry slap bang in the capital.
Of course, we are still keen to increase the number of publishers involved and to get support from all areas of the industry. London is one of the greatest and busiest cities in the world so it is the perfect springboard and stage for what we are doing. The public turn out in their thousands for our events – and even the resulting media coverage is exceptional. We are confident that the LGF will meet its growth targets this year – and we are also confident we are best placed to promote a positive and accessible image of the gaming industry to the both the public and the media.
What is the overall objective of this year's event in terms of press and media coverage?
We were very pleased with the media coverage we got last year, particularly in the more mainstream, consumer and lifestyle press. With an even bigger and better festival, we are hoping to attract even more media attention generating more extensive coverage for all of our events. Our aim is to position the London Games Festival as one of the capital's annual highlights – something that really can offer something special to all comers.