Keynote: Ian Livingstone

Day two of YAIC kicked off with an enigmatic keynote from Ian Livingstone, Life President of Eidos and one of the UK’s founding fathers of interactive entertainment.

In 1975 he founded Games Workshop with Steve Jackson and launched Dungeons & Dragons in Europe, he launched White Dwarf, the UK’s first interactive games magazine in 1977 and co-wrote The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first in the Fighting Fantasy series of interactive gamebooks with sales in excess of 16 million copies in 25 languages.

Ian took us on a personal and charming tour of his early days in the industry and development within the games industry, including a highly nostalgic tour of video games from Pacman and Lemmings up to Wipeout and Tomb Raider, which he helped to secure for Eidos.

Stating that games are mostly criticised by people who’ve never played them, he went on to show just how potent the industry is (worth $90 billion in software alone), illustrating the breadth and scope of today’s games scene, from the content diversity to the variety of platforms available today (did you know, for example, that 65 million people play Farmville on Facebook? No, neither did we!).

Livingstone took us through the development of Lara Croft, a sketched character invented by an illustrator for one of his companies in the 90s, to the megabrand she is today – more recongisable than the pope and worth $1.5 billion in revenue. A powerful and engaging insight from a true gaming legend.