Ukie Hub Crawl kicks off at Guildford Pavilion – an overview of the event


For the first time since early 2020, Ukie was back on the road with an in-person hub crawl event. Our first stop was Guildford, often described as the ‘Hollywood of video games’, it is an established cluster of video game studios and a perfect location to kick off this crawl. As the rain poured down on Wednesday evening, we warmly welcomed local developers into the Guildford Pavilion for an evening of casual presentations and a panel, centred around the theme ‘Next Level Indie’. A theme relating to concepts of growth within independent studios, throughout this hub crawl, this theme stretches from issues involving PR, community management and cloud service to finance and studio design.

First up in Guildford, we had Elaine Dowman from Barclays introducing us to Barclays Games and Esports division. Followed by Matt Murphy from Genba Digital talking about ‘Levelling up your Release’ by highlighting where marketing tasks could be made easier through hiring addition support. Nick Ferguson from Microsoft introduced the crowd to ID@Azure, explaining how cloud services could be integrated into game design; before Gareth Hill from BDO took a broad approach through discussing ‘Road Maps to Future Growth’. A talk which broke down various stumbling blocks for growing studios, including overseas recruitment, recognising alternative funding streams and integration of non-cash employee rewards.

We then invited Kostas Zarifis (Rogue Sun) and James Brooksby (Absolutely Games) on stage to partake in a panel talk where the concept of growth was unpicked through tales of success and failure for the two developers. By this time, the sun had started to shine across the pavilion as the panel came to an end and those in attendance mingled. After over two years of not being able to visit in-person, it was lovely to stand back and watch local developers share a drink and catch up with acquaintances old and new. One of the reasons we at Ukie wanted to put these in-person events on was to provide an opportunity for local game businesses to come together. On Wednesday night the feedback was that we succeeded in that goal, with speakers suggesting it was a fantastic and unintimidating opportunity to get back to presenting in person. For attendees, feedback was similar, the Guildford hub crawl was a space which allowed people to remember why they enjoyed local events and meet those they may have not seen for a while.

If you missed Guildford, don’t worry, we have many more stops on our crawl including Brighton (18th May), Dundee (25th May), Liverpool (1st June), Leamington Spa (9th June), Bristol (15th June), Belfast (22nd June) and London (4th July). Hopefully see you there!

If you would like to speak at one of our events, the call for speakers is open until 20th May for Leamington Spa, Bristol, Belfast and London. Please use this link to submit your talk.