British orgs give games festival, awards

Week-long event will celebrate games in England's capital; BAFTA to give games same status as film, television in annual awards.

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Gaming has taken a royal step toward legitimacy in England. Two major events have been announced and will take place later this year in London--the London Games Festival and the British Academy Video Games Awards.

The London Games Festival is the brainchild of The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) and The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA), with the help of the London Development Agency and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The week-long event will begin on October 2, and include business events such as the London Games Summit and the Content Market. More consumer-oriented events are expected to be announced soon.

The week will culminate with The British Academy Video Games Awards, an awards show designed to recognize "artistic and creative innovation within video games." The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has elevated its stance on the industry, making games a "third arm" of its organization and raising their status to equal that of film and television.

"Video games constitute a hugely significant, new, moving-image art form that sits alongside film and television in its power to entertain and educate, and the Academy is determined to encourage its development," said BAFTA chairman Duncan Kenworthy in a statement. "The British Academy Video Games Awards are a key part of our strategy to define, articulate, and reward excellence in the sector, to the benefit of those who create games and those who play them."

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