Gaming firms sell London

The world’s biggest video game conference, on now in Germany, has a London presence.
Officials with two London gaming businesses and one city economic development official are at GamesCom 2011 in Cologne, looking to close deals and just maybe, woo new business to the city.
“We are looking to land distribution deals with different countries for our games,” said Damir Slogar, chief executive of London gaming company Big Blue Bubble.
“But we are making sure people know about London.”
Larry MacKinnon, director of business technology with the London Economic Development Corp., also is attending the event to promote the city in the gaming sector and had preliminary talks with one United Kingdom-based company on locating a small studio here.
“We have to market London as a place to develop video games; there is a pool of talent here,” said Slogar.
Officials with that studio were in London about two weeks ago, meeting with developers on the possibility of opening here, he added.
London, and Ontario, is in a position to attract new gaming businesses thanks to federal and provincial tax credits and incentives that can cut the after-tax cost of every $100 spent in gaming research and development to less than $37.
As for Big Blue Bubble, it is rolling out six games during 60 days for cellphone platforms and needs to seal deals with Asian and European countries to carry the games, said Slogar.
Digital Extremes, London’s largest gaming business, also had an official at the conference.
The GamesCom event will draw about 245,000 visitors, nearly 500 exhibitors, 4,600 journalists and dozens of new gaming releases. It runs through Saturday.
During the past two years, Canada’s gaming industry has expanded 11% annually and is forecasted to grow 17% in each of the next two years.
Ontario has a presence at the conference, with officials from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and Ontario Technology Corridor also attending.
“Ontario is well positioned to compete with other jurisdictions who are trying to attract gaming firms and we have a lot to offer; that will be one of my message at the conference,” Darius Basarab, senior business development specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade stated in a release. Basarab is at the conference.
The gaming sector employs 300,000 in Ontario and contributes $12.2 billion to Ontario’s GDP, according to figures released by the Ontario Technology Corridor, an agency representing and promoting investment in Ontario technology industries.
Ontario recently announced a $10 million investment to help the University of Waterloo create a new campus and research and innovation centre focused on global business and digital media, and a $9 million investment at the Ontario College of Art & Design University to help create new digital media research and training programs.
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