The Guildford Games Festival attracted over 1000 visitors over its inaugural weekend which hosted over 40 industry led panels and career workshops and over 50 locally made games from 1987 to modern day. Running from June 28-29th, 2019, the weekend-long festival – which was supported by Guildford Borough Council, the UK games trade body Ukie, The University of Surrey, and Enterprise M3 LEP – was designed for the public, media, and businesses “to learn about the dynamic nature and importance of games companies located in Guildford, UK”. As well as speakers and a consumer expo, it also included a charity fundraiser and the inaugural Guildford Games Awards.
“Ukie are delighted to have supported the first ever Guildford Games Festival and that so many people, both locally and internationally, visited the various events to find out more games and how they are made,” said Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie. “It was particularly great to see so many local families, schools, and colleges taking part in the careers sessions, or talking to developers about how games are created, as well as having fun playing some of the world leading games made in Guildford.
“My hope is that some of our festival visitors go on to be the next generation of game makers, and they will be the catalyst for Guildford’s next exciting, innovative chapter in its history.”
Guildford Games Festival Awards winners – which were announced on the final evening of the festival – are as follows:
- Creative Award: Kenny Young (Freelance / Media Molecule)
- Collaboration Award: Jason Lord and Linda Clinker (Liquid Crimson)
- Community Award: Ben Ward (Supergonk / Rocket Desk)
- Education Award: Gem Abdeen (Media Molecule)
- Innovation Award: Hello Games (No Man’s Sky)
- Diversity & Inclusion Award: Jessica Saunders (Salix Games)
- Guildford Hero Award: Liam De Valmency (Media Molecule)
- Experience of the Year Award: Dreams (Media Molecule)
Guildford is reportedly the home of over 70 video game businesses, employing over 1500 people “which make up 10% of the UK’s game industry workforce”. The area “is recognised as an epicentre for games development, games publishing, and technology in the UK” and key figures from the industry including Peter Molyneux (22 Cans), Sean Murray (Hello Games), and Siobhan Reddy (Media Molecule).