Innovation Birmingham’s fifth annual LAUNCH Future Gaming & Digital Conference attracted a large delegation of gaming and ICT professionals from across Europe. The delegation was facilitated by the BOO-Games project, which unites and promotes the gaming industry across nine countries in Europe.
Taking place at the Innovation Birmingham Campus, the focus of the first day’s conference agenda was ‘Grads In Games – Launch a Career’, which was run in conjunction with gaming recruitment specialist Aardvark Swift. The second day’s conference theme was ‘Develop Inspired’ to harness the burgeoning community of indie games developers located within the region and beyond.
In addition to the European delegation, LAUNCH attracted registrations from over 20 universities and colleges from across the UK. Over 300 people attended the two-day event, which showcased some of the biggest names in digital gaming.
Speakers included Lee Stott, Technical Evangelist for Microsoft UK; Kyle Jobson, Video Game Producer for Flix Interactive; Richard Semmens and Jafar Soltani of Microsoft Rare Studios; Helana Santos, Lead Programmer for Modern Dream; Jason Fielder, CTO of Exient; Chris Sterling of Worldweaver; Paul Norris, Creative Director of Mad Fellows; Charu Desodt, Senior Producer of Microsoft’s Lift London studio; Ant Thomas from Marketing Birmingham; Cliff Dennett, CEO of Soshi Games; and Trevor Williams, COO of Playground Games.
Pia Pearson, Digital Marketing Manager and Head of LAUNCH at the Innovation Birmingham Campus said: “The LAUNCH Conference and regular events programme is one of the largest activities of its kind for the UK’s digital gaming industry. This has been the fifth year for LAUNCH, and over that time we have delivered over 40 highly engaging events for the digital gaming industry, ranging from meet-ups and studio showcases, to the annual Meet The Games Press event and this – the flagship two-day LAUNCH Conference.
“Partners and sponsors such as Aardvark Swift, bluegfx, Boo-Games, Business Birmingham, Creative Skillset, Develop, Game Republic, Microsoft, TIGA, UKIE, and for the first time this year – Google, ensure the LAUNCH event series tackles the themes and issues that matter most to the industry.”
The universities that were in attendance for the ‘Launch a Career’ day included those with specialist digital gaming and computer science departments such as the University of Northampton, Staffordshire University, De Montfort University, University of Birmingham, and Birmingham City University.
The LAUNCH Conference provides delegates with an insight into the industry’s latest innovations, trends, online tools, computer games, mobile products and services. Delegates were able to get hands-on with cutting-edge technology via the interactive exhibition, which featured a dedicated showcase for gaming start-ups to demonstrate their latest creations.
Pia Pearson added: “The UK games industry is the second largest in the world after the US, and the West Midlands is home to 25 per cent of the country’s total games workforce. This region has become a hub for games and digital media, with the Innovation Birmingham Campus being home to 18 games studios.”