We take a pre-emptive tour of UKIE's seaside-themed booth
UK games industry trade body UKIE is again hosting a sizable stand at Gamescom that will gather together a spectrum of the region’s developers, publishers, tech and service outfits.
This year some 53 UK games companies are exhibiting at the stand, which is conceived to engender networking, deal making, and showcase the best output of games firms from across the UK.
Occupying a significant space in Gamescom’s business halls, the UK industry stand is bigger than ever this year, growing in unison with Gamescom and sister event GDC Europe, which together today deliver an event catching up with E3 in both size and status.
“When we first started in 2012 we had 23 companies exhibiting on the stand, which at the time was a record number of UK studios in attendance at the show,” explains UKIE CEO Jo Twist.
“This year we have smashed that record and the stand will be home to over 53 British games businesses. Last year, UK companies did over £16m worth of business on the stand throughout the three days, and we are hoping that we can double that this year with VIP attendees visiting exhibitors on the stand, more networking opportunities and a streamlined meeting system.”
In keeping with expo tradition, this year the stand is themed to reflect culture peculiar to the UK, and as such is adopting a British seaside dressing.
“Every year we try to make the stand feel like a home away from home for UK businesses,” says Twist. “Last year we had a fantastic pub garden theme, so we wanted to do something different this year. After much deliberation we have created this year’s incarnation to resemble a British seaside, which will be complete with deck chairs, buckets and spades and a seaside photo board. This is going to be the biggest and best year ever for the UK games industry.”
But sandcastles and pebbled beaches aside, the booth has a sincere and serious intent; to serve those exhibiting with more business, to present a detailed picture of the diversity and quality of the UK games industry today, and to provide attendees that visit the area a practical and efficient way to meet and work with games outfits from across the United Kingdom.
“The main thing the stand offers is that SME businesses have the opportunity to attend Gamescom at a heavily discounted rate and hassle free,” states Twist. “Exhibitors have the opportunity to meet some key industry players that we organise to come and visit companies on the stand and all they have to do is show up and the UKIE team – this year aptly aided by four lucky volunteers from our Student Membership Scheme - take care of everything else.
“We keep you fed and watered throughout, organise, build and maintain the stand and act as an extension of your own team, ferrying your meetings to and from your space so that your time at the show runs as smoothly as possible. We also work with UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) to get a limited number of tap grants so businesses can get £1,500 towards their exhibition costs, which has made Gamescom accessible to companies that previously could not afford to attend. When you exhibit you also become part of a community that you are proud to represent and the stand itself is a networking hotbed.”
TRADE AND INVESTMENT
UKIE has also partnered with UKTI on the stand, meaning the Government department devoted to promoting UK companies on the international stage will assist more UK games outfits in networking with foreign investors, partners and the like. UKIE itself has arranged 121 meetings with UK exhibitors and large scale businesses, which UKTI is bolstering by providing other ways for studios to contact investors.
One such case will see UKTI host a visit to the stand by a delegation of South Korean firms with interest in the sector.
UKIE’s work with UKTI has also seen more UK-made games added to the branding materials of the latter’s ‘Great Britain’ campaign, meaning investors the world over in numerous sectors will, at various trade events – including Gamescom – see Moshi Monsters, LEGO The Lord of the Rings, LittleBigPlanet, Worms and RuneScape showcased as prime examples of national creativity in the UK.
The stand also serves as a place to enable individually organised and ad-hoc meetings, and attendees are encouraged to make contact with all the exhibitors (see boxout: ‘Stand and Deliver’).
“The stand is a great place to meet a huge array of UK companies that are all ready to do business with you,” says Twist. “Anyone is welcome to come and relax in our networking area, take in the seaside theme and play some games from UK developers. There is no reason to not drop by and check it out.”
The UK industry stand is also supported by Unity, Amiqus, Born Ready Games, UKTI Germany, Global Step, Multiplay and Atomicon, the latter of which is partnering with UKIE to host the UK Game of the Show award, which strives to highlight the most deserving UK-made in-development title on display at Gamescom.
“The UK game of the show award is a great opportunity to showcase the UK’s industry to a global audience,” says Twist.
“The UK games and interactive entertainment industry is world-class. We make the biggest selling and most creative entertainment products, we have the right business environment and a fantastic blend of creative talent to make globally successful exports. The award is a way of shouting about this and helps demonstrate the fact that we are the best country in the world to both make and sell games and we are proud of it.”
Those looking to visit UKIE’s UK industry stand can find it in the business area, Hall 4.2, across booth areas A051 and B050. Gamescom runs from August 13th to 17th in Cologne, Germany.