Three start-up gaming companies have launched their new ventures at Birmingham Science Park Aston (BSPA); fast becoming the city’s new hub for gaming entrepreneurs.
Soshi Games, OOP! and InteGames are all based in incubator suites at BSPA, with a total of eight people working full-time on the three new gaming ventures. Soshi Games and OOP! are based within the Park’s own Entrepreneurs for the Future (e4f) incubation suites, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, while InteGames is based within offices allocated for start-ups launched through the Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network (BSEEN) programme.
Simon Jenner, head of incubation at BSPA said: “The games industry is becoming increasingly vital to the UK economy, with predictions that the multi-billion pound sector will grow by at least 10 per cent over the next four years, fuelled by the rise in online gaming. The West Midlands is now one of the strongest regions in the UK for the gaming economy and Birmingham Science Park Aston has become the city’s new hub for start-up companies entering the industry.
“Being based at the Science Park, OOP!, Soshi Games and InteGames benefit from support with their business plans and access to business services, funding streams and private investors. They also gain a huge advantage from being located within a like-minded community, exchanging contacts and ideas in an informal fashion.”
At the Future Gaming event held last week (16th Nov) at BSPA, over 200 attendees heard from those running established games companies - such as Blitz and Rare – as well as from the region’s entrepreneurs showcasing new offerings.
David Hardman, managing director of BSPA, said that the Park’s approach in creating this new gaming hub was to recognise the need for sure-footed and fast development of new games businesses. “Developing a games company is not itself a game. We are looking to provide not just a creative environment, a cool place to be; but one that is also linked to commercial expertise and experience to drive growth and business success.”
Soshi Games uses sites such as Facebook to create engaging games that deliver positive social messages. Soshi’s business plan is based on a ‘freemium’ model, where circa 95 per cent of customers will play the games for free, while the remaining five per cent will pay enough to generate a significant return for investors. Launched earlier this month, Soshi’s first gaming product ‘Village Raffles’ features prestigious charities such as Keep Britain Tidy, Kiva Microfinance, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Fair Trade USA.
Founded only this month, OOP! is creating bespoke products utilising digital mediums such as iPhone apps and social networking platforms. The team of four highly experienced digital gaming specialists are currently working on their first product ‘Deadland’, which they are looking to launch next year. To coincide with the recent Global Entrepreneurship Week, OOP! was recognised as a company that is utilising digital technology in an innovative way to accelerate their business. Mark Barrow, strategic director of development at Birmingham City Council presented OOP! with the ‘BSPA 2010 Digital Entrepreneur Award’ at the Future Gaming event.
InteGames was founded by Alex Major, age 21, who completed his degree course in Computing for Business at Aston University on 14th June 2010 and started his company through the BSEEN programme the following day. InteGames’ founding principle is giving the consumer the ability to choose which platform to play a game on. The company is developing cross-platform games enabling people to play on any internet enabled device.