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Monday 5 January 2015

The first meeting of SIGN (Southern Independent Games Network)

Southampton Solent University is set to host the first meeting of the Southern Independent Games Network (SIGN) on 21 January at 6pm.  Members of the BCS Animation and Games Development SG are invited to attend along with anyone in the southern region interested in making professional games either as an indie or freelancer.   The main topic for discussion will be game development funding sources.


Initially the brainchild of Andrew Mitchell, a senior lecturer at Southampton Solent, the idea for a support network was developed with Course Leader Simon Brookes (University of Portsmouth) in an attempt to provide help and support to myriad small businesses, sole traders and freelancers working in the south and officially launched in November 2014.  Simon’s involvement has been critical to the success of the network to date. Bournemouth University have also since joined the network.

“The landscape has changed dramatically in recent years”, explains Andrew, “and this has led to changes in the way in which game developers work.  Digital games are now distributed through multiple channels so publishing is much more flexible than it used to be.  For the first time ever the largest proportion of games development activity is being undertaken by small (often one to three people), independent games developers and many of these work from home studios.”

Simon adds: “The Government are finally recognising the huge potential of the games industry as a significant contributor to the UK economy. SIGN, as an organisation rooted in three of the south’s leading universities, is ideally placed to leverage its strength to support the growth of this sector within the region.”

With a stream of potential new start-ups emerging from games courses offered by the universities each year and significant numbers already operating in the region, the necessity for some sort of formal networking group was apparent.

“We have seen in recent years how some regions have produced strong, high-profile, games company ecosystems through the developers coming together in a coordinated, connected approach” Andrew concludes, “and this is what we are looking to achieve here in the south.  2015 is going to be an exciting year.”

For further details about the SIGN meeting in January see