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Pedal to the Metal

Written by Bruce Grove

It’s been a couple of weeks since we returned from Gamescom and the Polystream team are still riding the momentum of what is one of the industry’s biggest events in the calendar. Gamescom continues to grow every year and despite coming so quickly after E3 this summer, it was incredible to see attendance records were once again broken with a reported crowd of 345,000 visitors! We were thrilled to be a part of it as Polystream had the privilege to join around 60 British games companies on the UKTI/Ukie stand. Representing the UK games industry across all segments, the Ukie stand alone had over 2500 visitors over the course of the week and raised a potential £31M in new business, so as you can imagine we didn’t stop talking. Huge thanks to everyone who came to chat to us; we’re excited about the next steps as a result.

Now we’re back at Polystream HQ, it’s pedal to the metal as we’ve got prototypes up and running on two different public cloud services, and we’re playing with a some different games to start digging into the corner cases that inevitably come up when dealing with graphics drivers. We’re seeing some great results already and will be sharing more at Games Ireland in Dublin on the 10th of September where we will be talking about product innovation in gaming before heading out to Cloud Gaming USA in San Francisco on September 28th to present on the business of cloud gaming. Hope to see you there.

It really struck me at Gamescom was how much eSports has moved into the mainstream and was a huge part of the overall event. The teams have some high profile sponsors and you can see the influence of so called “traditional sports” from their clothing to the advertising and prizes. The best part of this surge in popularity is seeing the audiences and their engagement; from watching in the show arenas, to the tens of millions following on live streams around the world. It’s only going to get bigger as more people discover and take part, and it’s a great time for those working in the streaming sector.

We’ve also seen some interesting funding events in the same time period, with Dojo Madnessbuilding training tools for eSports, and Klang with its mobile based multiplayer both raising funds from our very own London Venture Partners. Congrats also to Outpost Games for raising money to build games that are as exciting to watch as they are to play. It’s positive and rewarding to see innovation being funded in this way, and reaffirms my belief that we are building something valuable and new with Polystream as increasingly I see linear and interactive worlds crossing.

Physically getting back to the UK from Gamescom was its own affair. Adam, like a modern day engineering equivalent of any British poet/writer/artistic character in a Richard Curtis film, retreated to the south of France to sit looking over a lake and crack out endless amounts of code, while I got on my bike and rode 565km back with the GamesAid cycle team. It may have taken just over 3 days, but along the way we climbed two Amstel Gold Cup courses (including the infamous 12% incline that is Cauberg) then encountered a beer festival in the Netherlands, had a puncture whilst witnessing a procession of a thousand vintage tractors in Belgium, before heading to our hotel which also happens to be the home to Belgium’s top football team, who we quickly realised were playing the night we arrived as their mascot Blinky greeted us in reception…

Madness, and a whole lot of fun, but importantly, it was a great bit of fundraising and am thrilled the team made over £3500 for GamesAid. A massive thank you to all our supporters. If you’re interested in taking part next year let us know and we’ll sign you up to this amazing annual adventure. If you’re not already a member of Gamesaid, join up now! Membership is free to anyone working the industry, and will allow you to nominate and decide how the funds are spent across a variety of small UK children’s charities.



Follow Bruce on Twitter @brooseg

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