Game on! Film London and Ukie present London's games industry to US execs
Date posted: 18.03.2015
Last week saw a first for Film London, as we partnered with games trade body Ukie to showcase the capital's games industry to five US executives. This US-UK business development trip was supported by the Mayor of London.
The delegates came from a variety of backgrounds within the US games industry:
- Allen Fong - Perfect World, Associate Director of Business Development
- Seth Gerson - CEO, Rising Tide
- Min Kim - EVP, NEXON XP
- Perry Tam - CEO and Co-founder, Storm 8, Inc
- Daniel Wiggins - Kabam, Director, Corporate Development
Over a busy four days, they were treated to a chock-full schedule of presentations, tours and pitches from London games studios, as well as a stop-off at annual games event EGX Rezzed and the BAFTA Games Awards.
Bringing in business
With the UK Video Games Tax Relief having been introduced in 2014, this is a decisive moment for the capital's games industry. Our delegates agreed that while talent remains paramount for attracting business, the tax relief is an added incentive.
Seth Gerson explained that he sees the incentive as a "true game-changer for the UK," which will shape the future of its games industry. "The credit births talent, because games and talent are a law of numbers. The more swings at bat you have, the better your chance of hitting the ball. This tax credit gives developers here more swings at bat."
Conversation turned to the games industry's links with film, television, animation and VFX.
Allen Fong explained that there are great connections between the production industries: "The Batman series from Rocksteady, for example, is an incredible use of very powerful transmedia IP to create something really compelling in games."
The potential for cross-fertilisation of talent was another topic for discussion. "There's so much talent in movies and television," Fong continued, noting how cinematic techniques of framing and animation are impacting games. "I think it is clear this is becoming more and more relevant in gaming as talent across industries is being shared."
Daniel Wiggins described how he could see this in his colleagues at Kabam: "We have people who have worked for Henson, for ILM, and from large production houses to specialised animation and VFX."
London's passion for groundbreaking gaming made an impact on the delegates.
Allen Fong said, "One of the most compelling things is the creativity that's coming out of the industry here. It's really cool." Min Kim echoed his sentiments: "I get the feeling that creativity is the top priority for people here."
"I think it's a really vibrant game development industry here, with great people to talk to. It sets a different tone to Silicon Valley and San Francisco game development," Perry Tam added.
The group also discussed London's position as a global creative centre and a gateway to the UK and Europe, with Daniel Wiggins describing the capital as "a natural hub to attract talent, not just from the UK but around the world."
Seth Gerson, who worked in the UK in the late 1990s before returning to the US, stressed that the skills level has been consistently high: "The talent here has always been great. The UK has always had a wealth of talent, all over the country."
"It's been really nice meeting all these different studios and gaining greater insight into the industry here," Allen Fong said. "It's very exciting, what's going on," Seth Gerson added. "I hope it continues. It's good for London and it's good for the whole industry."