Gaming hub plan to help transform Stoke into a ‘digital entertainment district’

Up to £ 1million is spent on turning a former pottery factory building into a center for novice game designers.

The gaming hub will be based in Spode’s former gatehouse in Church Street, Stoke, and is expected to host its first startups next year.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council hopes it will act as a catalyst to attract more jobs and a cluster of digital entertainment companies to the city center. It comes as the old NatWest bank in Stoke is already in the process of becoming a new headquarters for animation specialists Carse & Waterman.

The hub will also be used for students at the University of Staffordshire and teenagers in local high schools and colleges to gain hands-on experience in digital techniques.

It will be equipped with equipment for 3D design, production of green screens and virtual and artificial reality projects.

Councilor Dan Jellyman, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Infrastructure and Heritage, said: “We want young people to enter the huge gaming industry. It will continue to grow over the next decades.

“Staffordshire University is already the nation’s leader in game design degrees. It’s about helping them take the next step, so that they get into the industry proper.

“The building is ideally located – it is near the university and the train station and it is also unique and original. We will reuse it for the industries of the future.

Graduates will be able to set up their own games business in the “incubation” space, benefiting from very low rents. It will also be open to others who wish to pursue creative careers.

“You need companies to come together to get that real kind of energy and stimulate each other,” Jellyman added. “You see it with the silicon roundabout in London and the jewelry district in Birmingham. “

The exterior of the building has already been renovated with funding from the city’s heritage action zone.

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Now Staffordshire and the Stoke-on-Trent local business partnership are contributing £ 190,000, and City Council is investing £ 360,000 to turn indoor space into a hub.

The investment is to be formally approved by the consulting firm on Tuesday, June 15. Mr Jellyman said this would bring the total expenditure on the project to around £ 1million.

“This will create 30 jobs and that’s not counting the jobs created by companies there,” he added.

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Swedish company VX Fiber, the company involved in installing Stoke-on-Trent’s all-fiber network, will also occupy part of the building.

The hub is part of Silicon Stoke’s larger vision, which aims to attract high-quality jobs and better infrastructure to the city.

It will include the new fiber network, as well as 5G connectivity.

StokeonTrentLive recently revealed that it also plans to develop a new elementary and secondary school in the university district, which would specialize in creative arts and digital technology.

This project is led by the trust that oversees Stoke-on-Trent Sixth Form College.

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