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Video games are big business, and they drive even larger parts of the global economy. Things are no different in the United Kingdom, where about 54% of the games industry is located in either London or somewhere in southeast England. Last year, video games brought in £2.8 billion to the UK, which was more than the film or music industries.
In order to help this sector along, the mayor of London recently announced Games London, a new project backed by £1.2 million in investments from the London enterprise Panel, and which will include a two week long festival spread throughout the city. The idea with Games London is to mirror events like Gamescom in Germany, or Paris Games Week. The project will include exhibitions, talks held at the British Film Institute, an indie gaming event known as Rezzed, and the annual Bafta awards for video games.
London had hosted another festival from 2006 to 2012, but that one folded up in 2013. The new project has support form the mayor’s office, which should lend it more strength and keep it an annual affair for the foreseeable future.
Video games, which shed the image of a children’s toy long ago, has seen increasing use in other fields. Not only are video games growing as a story-telling medium, one which competes with film and television, but it also has applications in everything from banking to civil engineering. Video game developers are often pushing forward with new technologies that other fields and industries find ways to adopt. Globally, video games are an $80 billion a year industry.
Since there is such a large number of developers in the UK, and especially in and around London, it makes sense not only for the city, but the country as a whole, to support that industry and help it develop even further.