"Initiatives like this are critical in supporting young companies and creating a sense of community and potential collaborations"

A new co-working space, The Pixel Mill, is offering free working spaces to local and start-up developers in and around Belfast.

The initiative - based in Ormeau Baths Innovation Centre, Belfast - is funded by Northern Ireland Screen and the Department for the Economy. Designed to "hot house local game development teams", the co-working space has access to 100mb per second broadband, modern co-working space, breakout and creative spaces for informal working and meeting, a boardroom, and event space. It has already been snapped up by seven start-up companies - Blackstaff Games, Brain and Nerd, Capstone Games, Cupboard Games, Northern Softworks, Rocket Flair Studios and Whitepot Studios - who will also have access to business and finance support, too, and is expected to as a "window to the Northern Ireland gaming ecosystem".

Ormeau Baths is also home to Digital Catapult NI’s Immersive Lab which will give residents of The Pixel Mill the opportunity to get hands-on experience "with the latest immersive technology including augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality enabling them to demonstrate, innovate and test their own business ideas and research".

"The global games industry is thriving and there has never been a better time to support emerging companies and talent so they can access the opportunities the global digital economy offers," said Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of UKIE (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment). "Initiatives like this are critical in supporting young companies and creating a sense of community and potential collaborations between them. This venture provides an opportunity to develop and support games clusters that are the building blocks for innovation and creativity, which can make a real difference to the industry right across the UK and Northern Ireland."

"Our objective for Ormeau Baths is to be a thriving, diverse start-up community and a hub for talented tech entrepreneurs, so we are really excited that Northern Ireland Screen has chosen to establish the Pixel Mill here," added Steve Pette, co-founder of Ormeau Baths. "Gaming is a multi-billion-pound industry which holds massive potential for Northern Ireland and with the Pixel Mill and Immersive Lab anchoring side two of the expanded Ormeau Baths building, we intend to play an active role in helping the sector move up to the next level."

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