Expansive English Game Development Hub Discussed

October 27, 2009 -

MediaCityUK, a sprawling 200-acre development in Greater Manchester, England may be the future home of a videogame development center.

As part of the Digital Britain report, the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) commissioned a feasibility study into such a move, proposing “a model of support which combines usability testing, applied research, internship training and public interface components in a single facility to be based at Media City” reports Crain’s Manchester Business.

While the project could begin as early as next summer, there appears to be some opposition to the project, including the “the political furore that such a move could cause in Liverpool,” home to a good number of game developers already.

Eric Hobson, CEO of developer Connect2media Ltd, expressed his feeling about the proposed project:

Having a building, whether it's in Manchester or Liverpool, isn't going to make a damn bit of difference in getting a company to stay in the UK rather than relocate abroad. What would make a difference is getting graduates through the door so they can get real experience of the industry and the industry can get experience of the graduates.

Matmi Managing Director Jeff Coghlan, whose firm makes viral games, agreed with Hobson, “The problem with our business isn't the buildings, it's with things like recruiting graduates, the educational standards and quality of graduates and tax.”

The BBC is scheduled to move five departments to MediaCityUK in 2011.


Comments

Re: Expansive English Game Development Hub Discussed

I agree with the people quoted, it smacks of building the buildings in the hope companies turn up, without actually giving them any incentive to do so. Typical for the UK really, short-sighted and ignorant of the real issues behind a problem they are trying to fix, as usual.

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Expansive English Game Development Hub Discussed

'Build it and they will come'...

Seriously though, I agree that companies need to keep the graduates in the UK, that's the major problem at the moment, most of graduates are moving abroad. I got my BSc in Computer Studies this year, and am looking for employment in the UK, but, it seems, no-one is interested in training a 37 year old, they either want an experienced 30+ or a trainable 25-, despite the fact I completed a 4-year course in 3 years, they seem to think I am unable to learn new things... Not that I'd choose to work in the UK's game sector as it stands anyway, many of the developers would be a joy to work for, if only they could get out from under the yoke of the Distributors.

As an aside, maybe the problem is that we do tend to look at Video Games as being like 'Movies', with timetables and release dates, when maybe we should be looking at them as being like new Technology, which isn't even announced publically until it is working and in production? Admittedly, that leaves much less time for run-up advertising, which would annoy the distributors, but considering the amount of testing, repairing, tuning and balancing that is required by a computer game, I consider them far more closely related to a technical product than a media one, there's media involved, but the stuff that takes the time is writing code, and that's not like making a movie in the slightest.

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