Edinburgh is preparing to showcase the art form of video and computer gaming when the city’s first interactive conference gets underway later this week alongside the world famous arts festival.
A UK industry worth more than £4bn, gaming takes its place alongside film, television and other cultural industries recognised during the festival, says spokeswomen Sarah Hartland: “The ambition of the Edinburgh Festival has always been to bring the arts to its patrons – as an interactive extension of the festival, Edinburgh Interactive looks to do the same with interactive entertainment and videogames.
“These industries rely on big budgets and exceptionally talented creatives to bring concepts to life; just as the film, music and other entertainment industries do.”
Speakers due to address delegates include Peter Moore, the President, EA Sports who is giving a keynote address about iconic sports brands as well as sessions on TV branded games, social technologies and a panel debate to look at whether The Great Age of Big Blockbuster Games is Coming to an End?
(The full conference schedule is available here.)
Chairman of Edinburgh Interactive, Chris Deering said the conference acknowledged Scotland as a driving force behind UK’s position within the top four games development countries in the world.
While it may be best known for the Grand Theft Auto series, Deering points to developments through the educational system in Scotland which are preparing young people for careers in games development, interfacing with the games industry to give youngsters exposure at an early age.
He added: “The government in Scotland is pro-active in this regard. Scotland has pioneered the use of off the shelf games as subject matter to engage students.
“The Games industry continues to enjoy demographic, geographic and thematic expansion, especially via new game controller devices like Guitar Hero SingStar and Wii Sports.
“Online social aspects have expanded the category way beyond the traditional concept of a few players hovering around a single TV. Games have always been a good “cost per hour” value for money, and now free “snack” games on PC, i-phone and Facebook are expanding the low cost options which seed future business for big game hits. ”
* The Edinburgh Interactive Conference is being held in the city on Thursday, August 13 and Friday 14. I shall be covering as much as I can of it – follow my tweets @foodiesarah to keep in touch.