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Renaissance of the North West gaming sector

14/07/17

A huge amount of momentum has built up behind the Manchester tech scene in recent years.

The Northern Powerhouse has been conceived and KPMG ranked Manchester ahead of many other European cities as the top location for doing business. GP Bullhound has also reported that the North of England more broadly now has 11 tech companies valued at more than $1 billion.

However, a debate is taking place in the city as to whether companies in the North West are confident enough when it comes to shouting about their successes – particularly when compared to their London or Silicon Valley counterparts. Whether that’s confidence, culture, finance or skills – we need to take a good, honest look at what might be holding the city back.

To understand what that might be Nikki Scrivener, Fourth Day director, has spoken to several leaders in the North West of England to get their views on what it would take to make Manchester a true world leader in technology. You can read the full report here.

Renaissance of the North West gaming sector

Our graduates could well provide the answer according to Stig Strand, head of recruitment teams at Amiqus, a consultancy that specialises in the gaming industry – a sector, which by Nesta’s last reckoning, was worth £1.7bn to the UK economy.

“The North West games development community continues to grow, with more and more independent developers popping up in Salford Quays. This can only be a good thing for the area, which really suffered in the past. We saw the closure of EA, Warrington, Runecraft in Leeds and Bizarre Creations in Liverpool all because of the impending recession and certain products not achieving the predicted critical success. This led to a number of talented and very experienced games developers relocating overseas or to other hotbeds for games development, such as Guildford and Leamington.

Since then the North West has slowly started to recover but we don’t have the talent in numbers that we used to. Local companies are finding it hard to convince senior talent to relocate to Manchester because of the higher salaries on offer in the capital.

Companies are having to match those salaries here, as well as providing working environments that offer the same as studios situated outside of the North West. The issue is being tackled by securing as many graduates from local universities as possible.

Partnerships between the academic and commercial worlds and a real desire to nurture talent is helping to bridge the gap. So hopefully, the tide has turned.” 

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