The trade body's CEO Dr Jo Twist discusses her team's greatest accomplishments and why the UK can lead the way in eSports
Year founded: We've been around as UKIE since 2010 (but we were previously known as ELSPA from 1989)
For any readers who might not know you, tell us a little more about your company and its goal.
UKIE is the only trade body for the UK's wider games and interactive entertainment industry.
A not-for-profit, we represent businesses of all sizes from small start-ups to large multinational developers, publishers and service companies, working across online, mobile apps, consoles, PC, eSports, VR and AR.
UKIE aims to support, grow and promote member businesses and the wider UK games and interactive entertainment industry by optimising the economic, cultural, political and social environment needed for businesses to thrive.
What differentiates you from similar outfits? What’s unique about you?
UKIE works closely with the sector to influence government and decision makers, lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, the UK Games Fund, and the Next Gen Skills campaign which resulted in a new Computer Science Curriculum.
We’re here to make connections for businesses and help them access the opportunities a digital economy offers, via a successful International Trade programme, running UK Games Industry stands at the biggest international industry events.
Our comms team promotes the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the sector’s positive cultural and economic contribution, as well as the societal benefits of games. We also run askaboutgames.com, where families can learn about safe and sensible online practices, parental controls and age ratings.
UKIE's skills work serves to increase inclusion and diversity, advocating a STEAM approach to education. Initiatives include the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), Video Games Ambassadors (VGAs), a Student Membership scheme, and a professional development programme.
UKIE commissioned the Blueprint for Growth report in 2015, an independent review of the UK games industry with recommendations for decision makers in Parliament for how the industry can grow.
In 2016 UKIE partnered with Film London to deliver Games London, a ground breaking new three-year programme to promote the UK as the games capital of the world, the focal point of which is the annual London Games Festival.
What excites you about the games industry and games development today?
Watching new trends in technology and business models constantly emerging is what is great about working in the games industry. This is a huge year for VR, AR and eSports, and so it’s a busy but exciting time to be working in the sector.
We’re really excited to see the huge implications that VR has not just on gaming, but on education, rehabilitation, training, and so much more. Also, making sure that the UK is at the forefront of the explosion of eSports is really important.
What do you think the line-up of this year’s Develop Awards finalists says about the industry today?
The list of nominees this year highlights the excitingly diverse range of games studios operating in the UK today – it’s great to see the biggest international studios nominated next to indie studios. It’s also a testament to the talent that is working in the sector here in the UK that the range of games, studios and service companies is so long and broad.
It’s also great to see such a long list of great service companies up for awards. This industry is made up of so much more than development and publishers and it’s important that the support companies are recognised for the huge impact that they have on the sector.
Do you have a message for the finalists?
We’d like to say a huge good luck to all the finalists. It’s fantastic to see so many of our members and friends up for awards and we wish everyone the best of luck on the night.
About the Develop Awards
This year's Develop Awards take place on Wednesday, July 13th at the Brighton Hilton Metropole, and honour the best in games development talent from across the UK and Europe.
You can find a full list of this year's finalists here.
The awards are supported by headline partner CV Bay, with gold partners MoGi Group, Amiqus, Epic Games, Sumo Digital, Crytek, Perforce, Games London, UKIE, and King. OPM returns as table gift partner, alongside exclusive drinks reception partner Keywords Studios, table drink and gold partner Nordeus, and event partner Develop: Brighton. Epic Games are also an award partner, as are Aardvark Swift. Unity is award and opening video partner.
Contact Charlotte Nangle via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about the opportunities available, both at the event and in editorial coverage before, during and after the Awards.