Games Fleadh 2013 captures restless spirit of a local industry in rapid growth mode

16 Mar 2013

The momentum and skill of Ireland’s rapidly growing games industry – which grew 90pc in the past three to four years – was captured in Thurles, Co Tipperary, this week when start-ups and more than 2,000 students gathered at Games Fleadh 2013.

The winners of the awards very much reflected that Dublin is the powerbase for the indigenous digital gaming sector in Ireland, with eight of the 12 awards coming from six companies in the capital. The other four were divided evenly between two companies, one in Galway and the other in Thurles itself.

The awards event was one of the highlights of the Games Fleadh at the Thurles campus of LIT Tipperary this week, which saw over 2,000 students and industry experts, including representatives from the some of the large multinationals and up-and-coming indigenous companies, gather over two days.

Speaking at the 10th annual ‘Games Fleadh’, its founder Philip Bourke said that the geographical breakdown of the awards reflect the growth area of the indigenous sector here in Ireland. “A recent survey, the Irish Games Industry Survey 2012 by Jamie McCormick, Marketing Systems Manager with Dublin based GALA Networks Europe, showed that the Munster and Connacht regions have experienced the biggest increase in jobs but are more reliant on major FDI employers, whereas Dublin has a greater critical mass of indigenous companies employing the same numbers as the Connacht and Munster regions.

“The real positive is we are creating a great opportunity here for Ireland as the proliferation of indigenous games developers is sending a strong signal to multi-nationals that Ireland is a cutting-edge location when it comes to games development.  We are building a real pedigree in Ireland.

“Our Games Fleadh here is playing a role in that and its organic growth has been partly responsible for the development of a cluster of start-up companies here on our campus in Thurles alone.  To support this, and the wider industry, we are in the process of establishing our own Games Research Centre here.  One of the first things this Centre will do is conduct research into how companies can best promote their digital games, which could have real benefits for indigenous Irish companies to commercialise their games.”

Engineers Ireland Game Developer Awards winners at Games Fleadh 2013

Best Mobile Game:

PufferFish Games, Dublin for Busy Bees

Best PV games:

Riotgames for League of Legends, Dublin

Best in Animation:

Tribal City Interactive, Galway for Sheep Launcher 2

Best in Game Design:

Nevermind Games, Thurles for TroubleSum

Best in Game Play:

Haunted Planet, Dublin for Bram Stocker’s Vampires

Best in Casual Game:

Tribal City Interactive, Galway and Psychic Software, Dublin (Joint first)

Best Original Audio & Music:

bitSmith, Dublin for Ku Shroud of the Morrigan

Best free-to-play:

Redwind Software, Dublin for Numerosity: play with math

Best Original Innovation in Digital  Games:

Haunted Planet, Dublin for Bram Stocker’s Vampires

Best in Visual Engineering:

bitSmith, Dublin for Ku

Best Indie Game of the Year:

Nevermind Games, Thurles for Solar Sprint

Gamepad image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years