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ENTJ 8w9
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a huge games industry in the region. So, lets have a thread just for games.

I'll start with some good news. Codemasters' F1 2010 has sold well over 1 million copies on console version alone in the first couple of weeks when it went on sale. A good scoop for the region, especially when you load the game it says "Made in Birmingham, England". :)
 

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Change is Here!
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Not just Games - we've 100's of software houses in Birmingham & the wider west midlands - Kalamazoo on the Bristol Rd. Pinewood on the Birmingham business park to name but a few....
 

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In the aeroplane over B1
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2,969 Posts
Used to remember buying U.S. Gold games as a kid - based in Holford, Birmingham. Probably swallowed up by now.
 

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Ahoy Ahoy
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Activision has 2 major warehouses in the Midlands. One in Aston and one further afield in Swadlincote. So the arm of computer games is further than you think.

Rare (Goldeneye N64) in Digbeth and Twycross
Codemasters (TOCA Touring Cars, F1 2010) in Leamington Spa
Freestyle Games (DJ Hero) in Leamington Spa
Eurocom (Goldeneye wii) in Derby
Slam Productions (Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, and other quiz games) in Leamington Spa
Gusto Games (Championship Manager, The Ashes, DJ Hero 2) in Banbury

and these are just within the top 100 of games developers in the world making more than £3m each.

A little known fact Simon the Sorceror was developed in Sutton Coldfield
 

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ENTJ 8w9
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Activision are shutting shop at some locations and moving to Canada after the tax breaks were taken away. Let's hope it is not Brum offices that move.
 

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Ahoy Ahoy
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Activision are shutting shop at some locations and moving to Canada after the tax breaks were taken away. Let's hope it is not Brum offices that move.
That's Vivendi for you, the owners of Activision Blizzard.

Although there are no Activision software houses in Brum the distribution depots are. They are very successful and business is growing in the UK.
 

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Hat-trick of gaming start-ups move to Birmingham Science Park
Article posted: 26 Nov 2010

Science Park fast becoming the city’s new hub for gaming entrepreneurs

Three start-up gaming companies have launched their new ventures at Birmingham Science Park Aston which is fast becoming the city’s new hub for gaming entrepreneurs. Soshi Games, OOP! and InteGames are all occupying office space in Aston, based in incubator suites at BSPA, with a total of eight people working full-time on the three new gaming ventures.

Soshi Games and OOP! are based within the Park’s own Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubation suites, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, while InteGames is based within offices allocated for start-ups launched through the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) programme.

Simon Jenner, head of incubation at BSPA said: “The games industry is becoming increasingly vital to the UK economy, with predictions that the multi-billion pound sector will grow by at least 10 per cent over the next four years, fuelled by the rise in online gaming. The West Midlands is now one of the strongest regions in the UK for the gaming economy and Birmingham Science Park Aston has become the city’s new hub for start-up companies entering the industry.”

Businesses seeking serviced offices to rent in Aston or flexible office space to let in Birmingham will find a broad range of properties listed with Birmingham’s leading serviced office broker at www.freeofficesearch.co.uk. Call us on 0121 222 5270 to speak to a member of our team with expert knowledge of Birmingham’s serviced office market who will be able to assist you and save you money on your office rental.

Posted by Julie Tucker
http://www.freeofficesearch.co.uk/OfficeSpaceNews.asp?NewsID=00000536&monthnameyear=November2010
 

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Microsoft subsidiary looks to expand in Birmingham
12th January 2011 By Marc Reeves - Editor, West Midlands

A SUBSIDIARY of Microsoft is looking to expand its operations in Birmingham, TheBusinessDesk.com has learned.Rare Games, which developed the motion-sensitive technology called Kinect for the Xbox console, already has a base in Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, but is understood to be looking for between 40,000 and 50,000 sq ft of extra space in 'an iconic location' in Birmingham city centre.Microsoft executives have narrowed down the shortlist of potential properties to four, including Baskerville House on Broad Street and The Cube, nea...
http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/west...-expand-in-birmingham.html?news_section=19011

Boost for Midlands as Kinect games company considers expansion
Wed 12 Jan 2, thedrum.co.uk

Rare Games, the Microsoft subsidiary that developed the motion-sensitive technology for the Kinect Xbox console is looking to dramatically expand its Birmingham presence.

The operation set up a Midlands base last year in Digbeth's Fazeley Studios that houses around 90 staff. However, property sources now say the company is searching for a further 40,000 and 50,000 sq ft of additional base in an 'iconic' city centre building. This would be enough to house between 300 and 400 staff.

Possible contenders for the new base, which would be in addition to Fazeley Studios, are Baskerville House on Broad Street and The Cube near the city's Mailbox development.

Rare's HQ is currently in Twycross, 30 miles from the city. Last year, when they announced the launch of Fazeley Studios, a statement revealed they were establishing a new model for games development which called on them to have a series of independent teams. "The new studio represents a move on Rare's part to change the current model of games development working practices," it said. "It will will enable us to attract staff from a large pool of talent.

"Rare believes that the current model of massive teams has lead to a boom and bust cycle in staffing terms and sees a film production model as a far better and more efficient way of creating triple A games going forward. The Fazeley studio will be home to some 90 staff working on new Rare games although number will fluctuate with the development cycle."
Founded in 1985 the company has sold 110m games.
http://www.thedrum.co.uk/news/2011/...-as-kinect-games-company-considers-expansion/
 

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Concerto Grosso
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Not just Games - we've 100's of software houses in Birmingham & the wider west midlands - Kalamazoo on the Bristol Rd. Pinewood on the Birmingham business park to name but a few....
A lot of software jobs are within companies that aren't software firms, especially those making telecoms, automotive, or aircraft parts. TRW in Solihull, for example, and Goodrich. Marconi used to employ hundreds of software engineers, as did Fujitsu in Solihull.

The west Mids is actually pretty poor for software jobs these days, especially embedded. I know, because I've looking!
 

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Birmingham gaming firm Raw Games receives major investmentby Anna Blackaby
May 11 2011
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Scene from The Spire, by Raw GamesA games development firm set up by former University of Wolverhampton students has netted an investment from a London-based funder less than a year after it was founded.

Raw Games, which was set up in June last year, is a specialist in story-driven games with high-production values that can be broken down into shorter downloadable episodes.

The Birmingham Science Park-based firm has received the backing of AIM-listed Legendary Investments, which has acquired an initial 42.5 per cent equity stake for an undisclosed sum.

A representative from Legendary will also take a seat on Raw Games’ board.

Raw Games’ first game, which is currently under development, is called The Spire and has already generated a lot of excitement in the market. A teaser trailer release for The Spire received more than 230,000 views within the first five days of release.


Raw Games managing director John Tearle said: “The first game we are doing is The Spire – it’s based around conspiracy and aims to encapsulate the feel of programmes like Lost and 24, with that kind of loyalty from the fanbase and with a great storyline and concept.

“We want to tie that altogether in an episodic format, literally like a TV show.

"So instead of games being 10 or 20 hours long, guys like myself can sit down and play the games for two or three hours at a time, complete the section and then at a later date they can download the next episode.”

The game will be available on platforms like PlayStation and Xbox, but the new investment will also help the firm look at the digital distribution market, which analysts expect to double by 2015.

As part-consideration for the initial investment, Legendary will provide management and consultancy services to assist Raw Games in developing and growing its business.

The staff of Raw Games have the opportunity to earn back a 22.5 per cent equity interest from Legendary if the firm hits certain targets.

Legendary also has an option to increase its equity interest further, on terms yet to be determined.

Raw Games is a member of Birmingham Science Park’s Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) programme, which provides incubation facilities for tech startups.

Mr Tearle said: “The mentoring and advice we have received together with the vibrant technology community at Birmingham Science Park Aston has been invaluable.

“We are delighted to have received our investment to take the business to the next stage.”

Raw Games works closely with universities in the region, including Birmingham and Wolverhampton, to help games development students and recent graduates get the right skills they need to break into the industry.

Mr Tearle said he believed there was the potential for the region to grow its games industry, particularly if tax incentives were introduced.

“If more people back the industry, and if it is able to have tax breaks that places like Canada get, I think Birmingham can be the equivalent to the Canadian games sector,” he said.


Read More http://www.birminghampost.net/birmi...ajor-investment-65233-28674396/#ixzz1M4NQSpoG
 

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Sega to open Birmingham studio
By Anna Blackaby, Jun 23 2011

Games giant Sega is making a welcome return to the West Midlands with the launch of a new boutique studio creating the next generation of video games technology.

The company, known worldwide for blockbusters such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Football Manager, has chosen Solihull to set up a product development team which will focus on innovative new platforms, with the creation of 15 jobs.

The gaming giant has not disclosed the titles to be developed in Solihull, but said the studio currently has a project under way due for release in late 2012 described as “a unique action adventure experience”.

The move marks a return to Solihull for Sega, after it pulled out of its 60-strong Sega Racing Studio at Blythe Valley Business Park in 2008 over concerns about profitability.

The Japanese firm went on to sell the studio to local rivals Codemasters, which took on 40 of its staff.

A handful of Sega staff were retained by the firm to make up the Technology Group – a crack team of games experts who travel the world helping Sega developers explore the possibilities of new platforms, including movement-controlled consoles like Microsoft’s Kinect and the PlayStation Move.

Two members of the Technology Group will work with the new studio, which will be headed by Chris Southall who has more than 16 years technical, design and production experience.

Sega Europe senior vice president of production Gary Dunn said: “I am genuinely excited about the prospect of opening another studio, particularly one co-located with our Technology Group.

“We have seen some great and truly innovative prototypes coming out of the designers, artists and tech staff that form our Technology Group, and we fully intend to keep innovation at the heart of the new studio by keeping close links with the Technology Group who will ensure that this happens.”

The move by Sega builds on a thriving West Midlands computer games sector – the region is home to global firms like Codemasters and Blitz Studios, which are based around the Leamington Spa area.

Birmingham hosts an operation belonging to Microsoft subsidiary Rare Games, which is working on titles for the Kinect controller allowing players to use their own movements to interact with the game.

Wouter Schuitemaker, investment director at inward investment organisation Business Birmingham, said: “The decision of such a major player in the gaming industry to open a design studio in the region reflects our lead in this sector, and the increasing strength of our creative, digital and R&D talent pool.

“The West Midlands is home to 21 per cent of the UK games workforce with 64,000 people employed across the region’s wider creative, digital and ICT industries.

“This announcement will further boost our credentials and attract global attention to what we have to offer. With the Chinese Premier’s visit to MG, its recent opening of a £5 million design studio at the Longbridge site, and Sega’s announcement, our international reputation as the UK’s hub of games, serious games, interactive digital media and design is growing rapidly – we expect it to be a key growth area for the region in the future.”

But despite the strength of the West Midland sector, the good news from Sega comes at a time when some parts of the UK games industry are feeling less positive.

TIGA, the industry’s trade association, has been warning that the UK is in danger of seeing a games developer brain drain as other countries such as Canada and France have put incentives in place to support their home-grown sectors.

It has cited a report by the Canadian government which recently suggested that Canada was extracting games development talent from the UK thanks to more supportive policies.

TIGA has been calling for better tax incentives and other measures to support the UK’s video game sector.
Read More http://www.birminghampost.net/birmi...rmingham-studio-65233-28929956/#ixzz1Q8lSG5Yx
 

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S&X oversees preview of Phelps videogame in China
27th July 2011

By Duncan Tift - Deputy Editor, West Midlands

BIRMINGHAM marcom agency S&X is overseeing the world exclusive preview of a new videogame starring the world’s most successful swimmer, Michael Phelps.The agency is currently working with swimming brand Speedo – which sponsors Phelps - during the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai.Visitors to the championships are getting the opportunity to compete virtually against Phelps in previews of a new swimming game, Push the Limit.Developed in conjunction with Michael Phelps, the game, which features Kinect for Xbox ......for the full story register now for free or login below...

http://www.thebusinessdesk.com/west...ps-videogame-in-china.html?news_section=54022
 

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2 bits of gaming news....

The AI and handling improvements in the game alongside work-in-progress gameplay footage (2:41)
Codemasters has released the second video developer diary for F1 2011, the sequel to F1 2010, the fastest-selling FORMULA ONE game ever released. In F1 2011 players will be challenged to 'Be the driver, live the life, go compete', with wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements on and off track and vastly extended competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2011 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from 2011 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the current FIA FORMULA ONE Drivers' World Champion Sebastian Vettel. The 2011 season also sees the debut of the 2011 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX OF INDIA at Delhi's Jaypee International Race Circuit and the return of the iconic Nürburgring to the calendar. F1 2011 is in development at Codemasters Birmingham and will race into stores on September 23rd, 2011, for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
http://www.gamershell.com/news_122528.html


Soshi Games sets out for funding
Last updated: 19th Aug 2011 at 08:15am | A games developer based at Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA) is on the lookout for potential investors.

Soshi Games has already secured £125,000 of funding from a public sector venture capital organisation and now needs to match it with private sector investment.

Cliff Dennett, commercial and design director of Soshi Games, said: "Securing this investment is fantastic, but as it's from a public sector venture capital fund, it needs to be match-funded before it can be released.

"Around 90 per cent of the funding that we are looking for will go into employing full-time graphic artists and programmers, and is critical to our continued development."

Soshi specialises in producing social and interactive games. The company is preparing to launch its first title, Music Festivals: The Game, where players design, build and run their own mini festival.

The company is part of BSPA's e4f programme which supports technology start-up companies. The scheme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
http://www.insidermedia.com/insider/midlands/57366-soshi-games-sets-out-funding/
 

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Birmingham digital boot camp to attract industry leaders
09/02/2011, PRESS RELEASE

Birmingham is set to attract global digital talent to the city as it launches ‘2Digital Days’ - a unique initiative designed to give new talent and potential investors an insight into the city’s growing digital media industry, showcasing it as an ideal business and career location.

‘2Digital Days’, run by Business Birmingham, the city’s official inward investment programme, is an exclusive opportunity for digital media companies to find out what Birmingham can offer their business. Held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, ‘2Digital Days’ offers a bespoke ‘boot camp’ of activities including participation in Launch - Gaming and Digital Conference 2011, gaming and tech showcases, city, digital district and company tours, one-to-one meetings and master classes.

The innovative initiative is part of Business Birmingham’s drive to showcase the city’s digital industry credentials and attract global investors and talent to the city. The West Midlands is home to nearly a quarter of the UK’s digital gaming workforce and over 5,800 digital companies including market leaders such as Codemasters, Sega, Rare and Blitz. Digital media and gaming were recently identified by global location specialists, IBM PLI, as sectors of strength for Birmingham, and are both key targets for driving further inward investment.

Sarah Darch, Investment Manager at Business Birmingham, recently attended Gamescom and Games Developer conferences in Cologne, where ‘2DigitalDays’ was welcomed by industry leaders.

She said:

“Business Birmingham’s 2Digital Days initiative is a great opportunity for prospective investors to experience the buzz of Birmingham’s digital scene. The city and wider area has unlimited potential for digital media companies looking to expand their operations, or locate in the UK.

“There is some really exciting, ground-breaking work taking place in and around the city and a number of high-profile companies and initiatives are really helping Birmingham lead the way in this sector. ‘2Digital Days’ will help the digital industry’s leading players see the opportunities for themselves.”

As the youngest city in Europe, with under 25s accounting for almost 40% of the population, Birmingham is the ideal location for a digital business or career. It offers an established support network of like-minded companies and individuals, finance initiatives, talent and ongoing access to training provided by academic institutions including Birmingham City University’s New Technology Institute (NTI) - an award-winning facility offering Avid, Adobe and Apple-accredited courses.

Fellow Gamescom attendee, Simon Miles, Talent Acquisition Manager for award-winning Codemasters, said:

“Birmingham has a thriving and exciting digital scene, and is attracting serious talent from across the globe. “ Thanks to this talent, we are now experiencing a booming trade -our BAFTA winning F1 game has been so successful we are now looking to recruit an additional 50 developers to join our innovative team.

“Our location in Birmingham with its dynamism and support offering, is vital to our success. ‘2Digital Days’ will be a real eye-opener for those who haven’t considered the area in the past and will lead, I believe, to many moves.”

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, also welcomed the Business Birmingham initiative.

Wilson said:

“TIGA is looking forward to working with 2Digital Days in Birmingham. It’s going to be a very exciting event bringing academia, games developers and other digital businesses together to showcase why the UK is the best place in the world to do games business.”

Business Birmingham has a limited number of places available at a discounted rate which includes one night’s 4* accommodation in the city centre.

For your chance to apply for one of these limited places at a discounted rate of just £99, please visit www.businessbirmingham/digital.com

Ends

Media contact - Amanda Lowe, Business Birmingham – 07766 465 670 [email protected]
[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/press...ital_boot_camp_to_attract_industryleaders.php
 
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