Dr Jo Twist OBE is CEO of Ukie. With a background in commissioning and journalism, she is also deputy chair of the British Screen Advisory Council, London Tech Ambassador, chair of the BAFTA games committee, Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board ambassador and Creative Industries Council member.
The UK is home to over 2,200 games companies who trade world class products and services globally. At Gamescom this year, Europe’s largest arena for the industry, companies from the UK and the rest of the world will meet and broker deals to help the games industry prosper. It gives UK games businesses the chance to show off their outstanding products and services to potential partners and investors from around the world, as well as flying the flag for UK creativity.
At this year’s Gamescom, Ukie’s UK industry stand will be themed around the Great British Funfair and will host a record 85 developers, publishers and services. It’s an important opportunity to meet international partners and demo new titles representing the best of the UK’s games sector. With the magnitude of UK games businesses at Gamescom, there are serious deals to be made. The fact that more than £30 million worth of deals were made last year on the UK stand is testament to just how important the expo is to the industry. This year we hope to smash that figure again.
The importance of reaching international markets remains critical to success. While the digital economy has opened up so many more avenues for global trade and export for UK games businesses, our relationship with our closest trading partner, the European Union, remains unclear. There has never been a more important time for our sector to broker new deals, forge new relationships and secure new investment. As an industry we are not just competing locally, but globally.
A key challenge that many businesses experience, especially smaller developers and publishers, is getting much needed exposure to attract finance and investment of all kinds. Which is why the UK stand will be flying the flag high for the UK games industry.
Although the UK exhibitors are there to do business, the very presence companies such as Team17, representing the confidence of the UK market with its recent IPO, to small but mighty studios such as Bossa, means there will be no end to what the UK has to offer in terms of diverse talent and popularity.
And if we were not patriotic enough, particularly in light of recent events in a certain football tournament, the funfair theme on the stand will mean there is plenty of candyfloss, ice cream and a special Hook a Loot Box take on the classic funfair game Hook a Duck. Of course there will also be our drinks reception, sponsored by Jagex, which will take place on the first night of Gamescom. And in partnership with Little Big PR, the UK Game of the Show Award is making a return this year. It will be a great chance to celebrate the UK’s creativity and innovation by rewarding the best unreleased UK-developed game at the expo.