With the world of video game development hitting new heights (thanks to the growth of smartphones and the continued popularity of consoles) it seems only right that Greater Manchester – once the cradle of the UK's games industry – gets a slice of the action.
The now-proclaimed centre of the 'Northern Powerhouse' was a veritable hive for the British games scene, with Ocean Software – a leading force in the UK games industry from the mid 1980s right through to the late 1990s – having sat as the jewel in the city's crown.
We think it's about time that Manchester rebooted itself and reclaimed its position at the top table, drawing on the scores of talent across the city and surrounding areas and pulling it altogether into one, potent organisation we like to call Gameopolis.
Like Cottonopolis before it – the nickname for Manchester when is was the nucleus at the heart of the industrial revolution – we envision the city driving the games industry in this country once again, and its our goal to bring together all the developers, publishers and service providers under one banner, helping them both work with each other and, ultimately, push the name of Manchester in the rest of the UK and across the world.
Though the exact remit of Gameopolis is still being finalised, there are some key goals we have for this north west alliance, including hosting monthly events with top class speakers, both bringing key knowledge to developers based in the city and making Manchester a key port of call for the industry's leading lights. We also plan to launch a website that will act both as a conduit for games businesses in the Manchester region to find each other as well as promote our assets to the rest of the UK and the wider global games community.
New and established video game companies in and around the city such as Pixelbomb Games, Acid Nerve, and Yippee Entertainment, to name just three of many, are realising successful games into the global market and showing Greater Manchester's outstanding creativity and technical abilities. If that wasn't enough, one of the world's most prolific mobile publishers sits just outside in the city's borders in the form of Chillingo, EA's fruitful publisher arm, which operates out of Macclesfield.
Built around all this will be efforts to tap into the education centres within Manchester, as well as aiding access to finance for developers looking for support, mentoring for businesses looking for a leg up and, further down the line, trade missions to key games hubs around the globe up opportunities aplenty. Look out for the launch of the new website soon, or follow Simon Smith or Keith Andrew on Twitter for updates.