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Guildford's games industry is centre stage as Playstation One celebrates its 25th anniversary

Last updated 30 September 2020
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Guildford’s role as the ‘Hollywood of Games’ took centre stage on BBC Radio Surrey this morning, as Europe celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the Playstation One.

Sam Read, EM3’s Games Sector Specialist, spoke to breakfast presenter Lesley McCabe, revealing that a Guildford academic, Professor Alf Adams, was responsible for an innovation which helped make the PS1 possible, and that the town’s creative innovators are still leading the way in the games industry today.

He told the story of how the University of Surrey’s Professor Alf Adams had a eureka moment in 1986, inventing the strained-well quantum laser which was a critical step towards enabling the reliability, precision and efficiency that CD players needed and was the basis for the PS1. Sam said:

I honestly doubt even Sony could have predicted at the time, how significant a moment it would turn out to be for them and for all of us. The Playstation One contributed so much to entertainment culture and from there, Sony would go on to have a huge impact on Guildford’s reputation as the Hollywood of Games too.

The games industry was already well under way in Guildford when the Playstation launched in 1995 and local game developers were ready and waiting for it. Bullfrog Productions and Electronic Arts launched a racing game called Hi-Octane the same year that the PS1 was launched. Since then Sony have secured their presence in town by purchasing one of Guildford’s most creative, BAFTA Award winning game developers, Media Molecule after they made LittleBigPlanet.

Sam reconfirmed EM3’s commitment to the games industry as a driver of economic growth, explaining that the LEP had worked with the Department for International Trade to get the area officially declared as a region of High Potential Opportunity, supporting its promotion around the world as a place for international investment. He said:

At Enterprise M3 we are all about enabling local economic growth and we all really understand how important the games industry is to our local economy, that’s why we are working closely with the Department for International Trade to shout about it around the world.

It’s things like that which give me confidence that on top of all the history, Guildford’s games industry story is only just getting started.

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