Founded in early 2013, the Bristol Games Hub is a non-profit group run for, and by, games obsessives. Set up by Debbie and Tomas Rawlings of Auroch Digital and Game The News, along with the director of Opposable Games, Ben Trewhella, it seeks to support Bristol’s booming games sector by offering members of the community – be they startups, freelancers, or tech-focused students – affordable office/desk space from which to work.

Better together

Based in the lively 77StokeCroft building in the heart of Bristol, the hub is geared towards providing a low-cost space for budding games developers to hone their craft, meet like-minded individuals, and have a bit of fun along the way. As Hub Resident Peter Simon explains on their website: ‘I achieved more in my first day at the Hub than I did in 2 years working from home.’

The office is currently home to 14 companies all working within the fields of games development and consultancy, including the likes of Demon Apathy and Large Visible Machine to name but two.

By creating a cooperative space in which residents are encouraged to share their knowledge, pass on skills, and collaborate on new projects, the group wants to not only nurture the region’s gaming community but also attract more industry leaders and investors to the area.

Events and ‘Antisocials’

As well as providing workspace for the city’s highly skilled but cash-strapped developers, the Bristol Games Hub also hosts a number of events aimed at bringing together gaming fanatics.

Regular events include the Game Jam in which fellow tech-heads gather to demonstrate their gaming prowess; Knowledge Shares, where developers discuss and pick apart key topics within the industry, whether it’s general subjects such as narrative or more in-depth tech-talk; or the tongue-in-cheek Antisocials, where entrepreneurs and enthusiasts alike have a chance to network, let their hair down over a drink, and even test out their latest creations on a more than receptive audience.

‘I achieved more in my first day at the Hub than I did in 2 years working from home’ – Hub resident, Peter Simon

Of course, the key factor for any new business looking at office space is cost. When it comes to price, Bristol Games Hub have a very simple approach – £110 pcm for a desk space, inclusive of all bills (internet, business rates, electric, cleaning and amenities). The super-flexible, rolling monthly contract also makes it ideal for those just starting out in the industry.

Game on

With media attention increasingly turning towards the South West’s booming tech scene, it’s great to see groups such as the Bristol Games Hub representing and promoting the thriving gaming community. Here’s hoping that they continue to develop – excuse the pun – and foster the next generation of tech whizz-kids.

For more information about Bristol Games Hub, including the social meets, follow them on Twitter or join the Facebook discussion group. And for all things South West and techy, join the TechSPARK meetups page.

Dale Marshall