By Claire West
Game makers, players and industry leaders were in Cardiff recently for the Wales Games Development Show, supported by the Welsh Government, as Wales strengthens its position in the £1bn UK gaming industry.
With Cardiff having been already identified as an emerging hub for video game production the UK with the potential for more high skilled jobs, Economy Minister Edwina Hart said the Welsh Government was supporting the growth industry.
Ahead of the event at Cardiff City Hall, Mrs Hart said recently:
“We have been proactively supporting the games industry in Wales through initiatives like the Digital Development Fund, trade support for key international conferences, and the Wales Games Development Show.
“It is a key sector within creative industries which offers well paid sustainable jobs, which is why we are keen to see it grow and expand in Wales. With representatives from across the industry in Cardiff today, this event is an opportunity for Welsh businesses to promote themselves and to show potential investors what Wales has to offer.”
Some 50 exhibitors including leading Welsh games companies, makers of games-creation tools and retro games sellers will attend the Wales Games Development Show. It will also feature speakers from across the industry and one-to-one surgeries with experts on funding, legal & accounts support and many other organisations useful to new companies or start-ups.
As well as sponsoring the Wales Games Development Show, the Welsh Government is supporting the gaming industry in Wales in a number of ways.
The Digital Development Fund has helped a wide range of businesses diversify into new markets, develop new products and also exploit short term market advantages. Game development companies such as Dakko Dakko, Wales Interactive and Dojo Arcade have produced titles successfully with this support.
Supporting inward investment is also helping to boost the sector with businesses like Oysterworld Ltd which chose Wales as the location for a development centre. The Welsh Government is also helping Welsh companies trade internationally, and in March led a trade mission of 14 Welsh businesses to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco - the largest annual gathering of video game developers.
In October last year, a report from innovation charity Nesta named Cardiff as one of twelve emerging hubs for video game production in the UK. The report notes that Cardiff is an entrepreneurial hub with smaller companies producing entry level games, particularly for the Apple marketplace, with 38 active games companies in the Cardiff area alone.
The Welsh gaming industry is also supported by Games Wales, a non-profit industry group made up of Welsh games developers, educational institutions, media partners and industry bodies with a shared interest in promoting the games industry in Wales. Games Wales runs the annual Wales Games Development Show, and organise social and educational events through Games Wales South and Games Wales North.