The Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival takes place again this year on August 21 and 22. Chaired by Chris Deering, former president of Sony Europe, the event will offer a first chance for the public to see games such as Reservoir Dogs, as well as lectures and panel sessions for those in the games industry.
Now in its fourth year, EIEF is one of the few major events on the UK calendar, despite the UK computer and video game industry now being valued at over £2 billion, the third largest in the world after the US and Japan. Deering describes the objectives behind the festival as "creating an atmosphere where the interactive computer and video games community can celebrate the latest creative milestones, challenge themselves to set ever higher standards of innovation, and to share that vision with the public."
The Odeon cinema on Lothian Road will play host to the consumer arm of the event, with confirmed titles that include Reservoir Dogs from Eidos, Lord of the Rings Online from Codemasters, and B-Boy from FreeStyle Games. The event will offer attendees the chance to see these games and many others first-hand, as well as being able to speak to their creators. Codemasters has also announced that The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar will receive an exclusive premiere at the festival on Tuesday, August 22. A question-and-answer session, titled "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Videogames, But Were Too Afraid to Ask," will round off the festival for those looking to get into the industry,
The event will see a variety of leading industry lights talking about the wider issues that surround gaming. The conference kicks off with a keynote speech from David Gardner, executive vice president and COO of Electronic Arts' Worldwide Studios, who will be discussing the challenges presented by next-generation hardware.
Other highlights include sessions from Margaret Robertson, editor of Edge, hosting a session about games that make her cry, and Serious Games' Ben Sawyer, who will be explaining how games are increasingly endorsed by doctors to help medical patients. There will also be a mobile gaming tournament designed to highlight the long-touted "next big thing" in gaming, and a machinima how-to session that will also include the premiere of the next Rooster Teeth movie, which will be a follow-up episode to the team's Red vs. Blue short that is currently available on Xbox Live Marketplace.
The final part of the conference is the Edge award, which aims to highlight games that have marked out innovative new paths or achieved new standards of excellence over the past year. An international panel of game industry insiders will pick a winner from a shortlist drawn up by the UK games magazine, including Amped 3, Brain Training, Dragon Quest VIII, Electroplankton, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy in the US), Guitar Hero, Killer 7 and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan.
GameSpot UK will be attending the event and reporting back directly from the Scottish capital in a couple of weeks' time.