Event director Alexa Turness explains how the show is bridging the gap between industry and consumer
Edinburgh Interactive, now in its ninth year, has gone through many a changes in its lifetime.
Originally conceived in 2003 and called the Edinburgh International Games Festival, in 2006 the event changed its name to Edinburgh Interactive. The festival prides itself in covering emerging areas of interactivity and content, and visitors can definitely expect something different from this year’s event.
What was once a full operation with full time staff has evolved greatly. The event today is spearheaded by one event director and a group of people, working together more or less for free, to put something on for the love of it. Edinburgh Interactive in born from a love for the industry and what it represents, and it is that culture that has made the event one of the longest running on the UK games calendar.
Apart from being stimulated and informed by some of the sharpest minds in the industry, attendees will have an opportunity to understand the significant impact video games and interactive entertainment have on our culture, creativity and economy.
“It has been the perfect backdrop for the discussion and exploration of new ideas and partnerships in games, and a unique landscape which positions games as much a part of the arts as film, television, theatre, comedy and the irreverence of the Fringe,” says Nintendo UK managing director and Edinburgh Interactive Chairman, David Yarnton of the event.
“I have always been a strong supporter of Edinburgh Interactive as it is a truly bi-partisan event that celebrates all the diversity that is good with our industry and leaves egos at the door.”
Certainly, Edinburgh Interactive brings to the fore a mix of business, education and fun through a focused industry conference that bridges the gap between industry and consumer. For those outside the business of making games, it offers a selection of free public screenings of new titles and technology, and sessions delivering information on how to get involved in to the games industry.
For those in the industry, the Edinburgh Interactive Conference is targeted at high-level business professionals, and provides a focal point for the crème de la crème of the interactive entertainment industry where they can discuss current trends, and look into the future of one of the fastest growing sectors of the creative economy.
Looking back at last year’s show, Kieran O’Neill, co-founder and MD of Playfire remembers his time in the Scottish host city fondly. “It was my second visit to Edinburgh Interactive, and I am well and truly converted into a regular,” he reveals.
“The intimacy with such an amazing group of people is unlike any other games industry conference I’ve been to. A highly enjoyable two days.”
And he’s not the only fan. Gamesbrief’s own Nicholas Lovell describes the show as “a melting pot of culture and technology, of art and business. The sessions weren’t the normal corporate shill; they made you think about this wonderful endeavour we call making games.”
This year’s speakers include Sean Dromgoole, CEO of Some Research, and Edward Williams of BMO Capital Markets, who will discuss their different points of view on recent developments in the games industry and particularly the extent and the value of gamers developing interest in social gaming.
Edinburgh Interactive will also deliver two gamification sessions. The first; Gamification: Building Games – the Mechanics, Rewards and Influences, will include a presentation from Kam Star, chief play officer at Playgen, who will be joined by James Allsopp, Playgen’s games designer and in-house psychology expert. They will discuss what makes a game a game and how the medium has the potential, if carefully handled, not just to entertain, but also influence behaviour and educate users.
The second gamification session, Gamification: Trick of the Trade, will be a panel discussion and debate that will look at platforms for game developers, TV producers and retailers that provide all that’s needed to acquire, retain and manage gamers.
The panel will include specialist experts Rajat Paharia, CEO of Bunchball; Philipp Mohr, CEO of Comufy; James Sampson, head of product at Enteraction, and Chris Wright from Games Analytics.
Taking place at the city’s Radisson Blu Hotel across August 11th and 12th, Edinburgh Interactive also sits at the heart of the internationally celebrated Fringe Festival. While many of the public sessions are free, full conferences tickets cost £175 plus VAT.