NEWS6 June 2024

Surrey Academics Team Up with Local Game Developers, Gamers, and Esports Pros to Fortify Guildford’s Legacy as the UK’s ‘Hollywood of Video Games’

Eight gamers, all wearing headphones, are sat around a table with PC screens.

The University of Surrey has opened the doors on its new Games Innovation Zone as part of a £2.3m programme helping to reinforce Guildford’s status as the UK’s ‘Hollywood of video games’.

The new space, which opened at the University’s Stag Hill campus in Guildford on Thursday (6 June), is the epicentre for an exciting new venture that will bring together a top taskforce of world-class academics, local game developers and creative tech leaders, and amateur gamers and e-sport pros to solidify Surrey’s reputation as a leader in the global video game industry.

A UK-first, the new zone is part of a wider £2.3m programme called Games And Innovation Nexus (GAIN). It brings together cutting-edge academic research and expertise from fields such as AI, neuroscience, psychology, blockchain and metaverse with game developers and creative tech studios to cover every stage of game production – from concept to console.

Two especially notable academics contributing to the project are Prof. Ferrante Neri, a specialist in AI recognised by Stanford University as one of the top 2% of scientists worldwide, and Prof. Yu Xiong, Chair of the Advisory Board of the UK government’s All-Party Parliamentary Group on Metaverse and Web 3.0.

Inside the Games Innovation Zone

Inside, the Games Innovation Zone is split into two distinct areas: an Innovation Cube for collaboration, and the Games Cube for testing and playing games.

Working together, in the Innovation Cube, the unique cooperative will use their world-class combined expertise and insights to tackle some of the gaming industry’s biggest challenges, fortifying Guildford’s gaming legacy, and shaping the future of video games.

The GAIN programme is funded by Research England, Surrey County Council, the University of Surrey, UCA Farnham, Warwick University, and Warwickshire County Council. Along with enhancing the UK’s gaming industry outside of London, the programme aims to strengthen collaboration between Guildford Gaming and Silicon Spa, two of the UK’s biggest gaming clusters outside the capital.

A group of around 30 people stand posing outside of shop front below a brightly coloured board that reads Games Innovation Zone.

Above: Local developers, along with academics from the University of Surrey, UCA Farnham, and Warwick University, join forces with Surrey County Council at the Guildford campus to celebrate the opening of the Games Innovation Zone, demonstrating a new chapter in cross-sector and inter-regional collaboration

Caroline Fleming, Director of the Surrey Innovation District says:

“It’s so exciting to see the Games Innovation Zone come to life. As well as being the hub for academic collaboration, creativity and gameplay, today’s opening is a leap forward towards the next generation of gaming. The innovative solutions generated inside the new Zone will help to tackle the industry’s biggest challenges, showcasing to the world Guildford’s credentials as the UK’s ‘Hollywood for Video Games’.   

Dawn Redpath, Director for Economy and Growth, Surrey County Council says:

“The games industry is one of Surrey’s real success stories, showcasing our county and its talented workforce on a global stage. 

We’re delighted to be working with our universities and industry partners to take this growing, innovative sector to new heights, creating high-quality jobs and generating inward investment into our communities – both of which would be good news for our residents.”

(Credit: Photos by Hesam Abbasi)