Welsh game developers get £55,000 to develop new titles for Microsoft

Three Welsh games developers have received £55,000 in grants to build new games titles for tech giant Microsoft as part of an initiative backed by the Welsh Government.

Dojo Arcade and Wales Interactive, based in Pencoed Technology Park, and Sky Fish Studios of Cardiff are the first Welsh developers to take part in the Microsoft Greenshoots programme.

Greenshoots is an incubation scheme that’s been set up to provide young games development firms with funding, business support and mentoring to help them create successful games for the Xbox One.

It’s been running in England for the past two years and launched in Wales in August as a pilot project with support from the Welsh Government.

The three Welsh games developers successfully bid for funding and will now be able to access Microsoft’s BizSpark programme. This will give them the ability to make the most of a wealth of development software, expert guidance, technical advice and an introduction to investors.

Edwina Hart, the economy minister, said: “Games development is a rapidly growing sector of the creative industries in Wales and a highly competitive arena so I am delighted that some of our most promising companies will benefit from this initiative.

“The grant funding, coupled with expert support from Microsoft, provides a tremendous boost for these Welsh indigenous creative businesses. Working with one of the world’s leading technology companies will provide them with a great development opportunity and an invaluable experience.

“It will also help raise their professional profile amongst the international gaming community and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government enabled this pilot to go ahead in Wales.”

Agostino Simonetta, ID@Xbox regional lead for Europe, said: “Following the ongoing success of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Creative England, we’re thrilled to be piloting the first cohort with the Welsh Government. The participating studios are perfect examples of the kind of raw talent this industry attracts, and we look forward to working with them to bring their projects to market.”

Tobias Johnson, of Dojo Arcade, said:“We are very lucky to be selected for the Microsoft Greenshoots and Welsh Government funding as the Wales games industry is rapidly growing. It will enable us to complete our current title Creature Battle Lab and give it the polish it deserves.“

Yucel Karamanli, co-founder of Skyfish, said: “Getting accepted by Greenshoots is a great step for our new game Elise: Unpainted Memories and incredibly encouraging. The funding will allow us to fully concentrate on making the game without worying  about the financial burdens we have as a small studio.  This is a dream come true for any Indie developer studio.”

David Banner, managing director of Wales Interactive, said:“We are delighted that Soul Axiom has been chosen as one of the recipients of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Welsh Government. This is a another great achievement for our company and Greenshoots will not only help us take an exclusive version of Soul Axiom to Xbox One but will also give us invaluable international exposure for the title.”

Image credit: JD Hancock