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Games Innovation Zone launches in boost to Surrey’s world-leading gaming sector

The UK’s first ever Games Innovation Zone has opened in Surrey as part of a £2.3 million programme helping to reinforce Guildford’s status as the UK’s ‘Hollywood of video games’.

The new space opened at the University of Surrey’s Stag Hill campus in Guildford last week (6 June). It 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), which is part funded by Surrey County Council. 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 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.

Caroline Fleming, Director of the Surrey Innovation District, said:

“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 at Surrey County Council, said:

“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.”

A group of people sit at computers wearing headphones. In the background there is a bright logo on a TV screen.
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