Trailblazing initiative to
grow Surrey games sector

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) is trailblazing a new regional initiative, PixelRise, which aims to create a thriving ecosystem in gaming and become a beacon for creativity, innovation and inclusivity.

22 Mar 2024

PixelRise is a Surrey-based games development cluster that will grow, diversify and support the gaming industry by raising industry standards, establishing new studios and helping develop new talent.

Cllr Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and economic growth

Cllr Matt Furniss, Surrey County Council cabinet member for highways, transport and economic growth, said: “We do need to recognise that strategic collaboration is critical for all of us to work together to develop the talent that we need in this industry, which is why we collaborated with UCA to commission a report to understand the barriers and opportunities to our local games cluster and how we can attract that growth in the area.

“We have seen a huge amount of grant income coming into the county, particularly in the CreaTech sector, so it’s a truly exciting time for Surrey’s games industry.”

UCA's state-of-the-art facilities

The report, compiled by Steve Cuss of The Game Plan Consultancy, recognised the exciting potential of Surrey’s games cluster and how it could harness the regions collective expertise and resources to capitalise on significant innovation, talent development and economic growth opportunities.

“There is a potent case for collaboration, said Steve. “If we look at the priorities of games developers in the region and the commercial environment, what we need is an initiative that unites and unlocks this potential across a diverse range of stakeholders. We believe that PixelRise provides this strategic solution, fostering an environment to address the challenges of the industry and take advantage of the massive potential in the cluster.”

The PixelRise initiative has been made possible via £1.5m of Research England funding, which was awarded to UCA, University of Surrey and University of Warwick to establish the Games and Innovation Nexus project (GAIN). Surrey County Council also committed a further £240,000 to the initiative.

Some of this money will soon be available to games developers, games studios, or those looking to start their journeys in the industry, with the launch of UCA’s Innovation Vouchers.

Sophy Smith at the launch of PixelRise at UCA Farnham

Sophy Smith, Director of the School of Games & Creative Technology, explained: “We’ll be opening a call very soon for you to apply for Innovation Vouchers and along with that, have access to our state-of-the-art resources, VICON motion capture and virtual production facilities, and wealth of research expertise throughout the University.”

To learn more about innovation at UCA, visit the Innovation HUB

Sally Shepherd at the PixelRise launch