Gaming hub to help start-up companies

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A new digital gaming hub for start­up gaming companies has opened in Leamington to encourage further inward investment.

The new centre is called 26 HT and is situated in Hamilton Terrace. It has been transformed from disused offices into a four­-storey ‘incubator facility’ for small gaming enterprises, after receiving funding from Warwick District Council and a £108,000 grant from the government’s Growing Places initiative, following a successful bid by Warwick District and Warwickshire County Council.

The property officially opened on Monday and includes seven flexible offices, as well as two testing rooms for games during the development stage.

Warwickshire’s gaming cluster, Silicon Spa, is the third largest in the country, after London and Dundee.

Around 10 per cent of workers in the game development industry are employed here, and a surprising 75 per cent of digital media companies in the area are gaming companies.

Leamington’s proximity to Coventry’s Serious Games Institute and the University of Warwick’s International Institute for Product and Service Innovation has attracted a talented group of game developers, as well as the nearby presence of key developers.

Codemasters is based in Southam and is the developer of the popular F1 series of racing games.

FreeStyleGames, creator of Sing Party and DJ Hero, is based in Leamington.

Jonathan Browning, chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) was given a tour of the premises by Gayle Spencer, business enterprise manager at Warwick District Council, as well as the council’s leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs and portfolio holder for economic development Cllr John Hammon.

“This is an exciting development and highlights the area’s growing reputation for hi­gh-tech businesses, because of the talented people based here who work in the industry,” Mr Browning said.

“We hope this will become a hive of activity among start­ups.

“Many founders of start­ups started off at larger design studios and are in a position where they need the right infrastructure, support and advice.

“This will also bring in inward investment, which is among the key aims of the CWLEP.

“The digital cluster is growing organically in the sub­-region and we want to continue moving the sector forward because of the economic impact it can have in the future.”