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If We Build It – They Will Come

This article first appeared in the Brighton Independent dated 5 July 2021.

Wired Sussex recently published a report into our regional games sector. Called Game On, it highlighted the dynamic growth of our games studios over the past few years. That growth is powered by an amazing group of creative entrepreneurs. They’ve built successful companies that both self-publish their own games and deliver creative content for well-known franchises including Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more.

Big businesses have noticed this success story and have been busy buying up our local studios. Swedish games publisher Mag Interactive bought Delinquent, Fortnite-producers Epic bought Mediatonic, Irish company Keywords bought Studio Gobo, TT Games now sits under the Warner Games brand and Horsham-based Creative Assembly are part of Japan’s Sega group.

This isn’t a tendency that’s only present in our games sector. In our booming online learning sector, City & Guilds bought Kineo and Capita bought Brightwave. In our TV sector, Warner Bros snapped up Supernanny producer Ricochet. And in our social media sector, Cisco recently acquired Brandwatch.

They are all buying into Brighton’s amazing ability to attract people who know how to combine creative inspiration with digital technologies and turn that into things people want to play, watch and use. 

In fact, if you wanted to create a strategy for Brighton that was about landing large international firms in the city, it would not be about putting together a team of salespeople to travel around trade shows trying to sell our city as a business destination. That just puts us in competition with other far-better funded cities, many of whom can offer incentives that Brighton cannot. Instead, it would clearly focus on attracting and supporting the entrepreneurial talent who grow the brilliant businesses that those firms then covet so much.

Of course, not every business owner wants to sell up. The other attraction of putting the emphasis on supporting our local talent rather than wooing businesses from elsewhere is that more of the wealth created here then actually stays here. It is not repatriated to an HQ somewhere else.

Let’s build to our city’s own unique strengths because, if nothing else, Never Normal means not following the crowd.

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Director of Innovation and Projects at Wired Sussex, I deliver our portfolio of regional creative technology projects and support our innovation hub, the FuseBox.

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