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The new merged BGI will be headquartered inside the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham

The National Videogame Foundation (NVF), which operates the National Videogame Arcade, is to merge with the British Games Institute (BGI), the firms announced today.

The new merged BGI will continue to deliver the NVF’s work to preserve video game culture and history and will continue to operate the Arcade within the BGI’s Culture Programme. The NVF’s CEO Iain Simons is to become the BGI’s culture director, working alongside BGI’s CEO Rick Gibson.

The BGI will be located inside the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham and will still have its four key objectives, listed as follows in the official announcement:

1. To encourage the development of the art, science and technology of games throughout the UK;
2. To research and promote games’ impact on and reflection of British culture;
3. To gather and share the artistic, technical and commercial expertise in games production;
4. To promote and increase diversity and inclusion in the UK games sector.

Simons commented: “By joining the BGI, we are building the national centre of gravity for games culture that our sector vitally needs. We have a proud record at the NVA, having welcomed over 100,000 visitors to our museum in the Midlands. The NVA teaches thousands of children via hundreds of school visits about how games are made and what they mean. We also work with parents, schools, universities, arts bodies and games studios on a growing range of initiatives. Our young persons’ programme Pixelheads is rolling out into scores of schools and arts centres this year to teach kids and families about games as cultural products to be appreciated in their own right, while helping children and their parents identify career paths into games.”

Gibson added: “I’m thrilled to welcome Iain and his outstanding team into the BGI. Apart from running the finest playable museum in the country, Iain and his colleagues have an unparalleled track record in games culture. They have produced the Gamecity Festival since 2006 and publish world-leading academic research into the interpretation and curation of games. They are also deeply embedded in the national and international network of arts and research organisations interested in funding digital culture. We know they will turbo-charge the BGI towards ambitious new programmes in collaboration with the best games and arts initiatives countrywide.”

Ian Livingstone, chairman of the BGI, said: “I’ve been involved with the NVF for many years as a big fan and supporter of their work. I co-founded the BGI with Rick Gibson in 2016, and I’m delighted that the BGI and NVF are coming together to form a new organisation that champions the UK video games industry’s impact as an art form and its contribution to the UK economy. There needs to be greater understanding of the investment and career opportunities in what is now the largest entertainment industry in the world with global revenues exceeding $100 Billion per annum. I believe the BGI will extend the industry’s cultural reach, help increase levels of investment, and win new funds for games culture, skills and production which our studios need to remain world-class.”

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