The all-new London Games Festival, funded by £1.2m from the Mayor of London’s Office, begins today with a programme including 15 events across ten venues. It will run from 1-10 April.

The festival, as covered in a previous Access story, is part of a coordinated three-year programme to encourage international investment in London’s growing gaming industry and make the city a global gaming capital.

Now Play This returns to Somerset House for the second year from 1 to 3 April as part of the festival. The three-day event will feature dozens of games for visitors to play, including several created especially for the festival.

On 5-7 April the Games Finance Market will take over the City Grange Hotel for a ‘speed-dating’-style networking event aimed at industry professionals, investors and business partners. The market will include more than 500 pre-organised meetings designed to connect new games with new sources of finance.

The festival will also include the British Academy Games Awards, the Games Audio Summit and the eSports Summit.

“London is already a star player when it comes to games and interactive entertainment, but international competition is fierce and we need to ensure our city can compete with our global gaming rivals,” said Boris Johnson, mayor of London. “From design to banking and civil engineering to film, games technology is being used in a host of different sectors.

“We are investing in a dynamic and constantly evolving industry to take London to another level as a world-leading capital for games and interactive entertainment.”