Liverpool’s thriving gaming industry has been strengthened with the news that video game developer Firesprite has signed a lease for the entire 50,000 sq ft Duke & Parr building in Duke Street.

It’s the largest letting in Liverpool city centre since Firesprite’s parent company Sony took 65,000 sq ft in Echo Place, Old Hall Street, in 2019.

Helen Cross, digital and creative sector lead at the Growth Platform, said the fact that Liverpool’s two biggest recent lettings have been to gaming firms underlined the strength of the sector.

She told BusinessCloud: “The gaming sector has a long heritage here. A number of businesses have spun out from the fact that Sony were here in the 1980s.

“All the talent that was in that organisation has helped create lots of other exciting businesses.

“The fact that Firespite, a games company that is owned by Sony, has taken the biggest letting in the last three years, is testament to the growth of the sector.

LCR Tech Climbers List 2023

“It’s at the top of Duke Street in a refurbished building that was invested in by the combined authority to bring it up to spec. The combined authority has already made its money back on that and is able to reinvest it back into other projects.

“The biggest two lettings in Liverpool city centre in the last three years have been games-related.”

The Duke & Parr building has undergone a £5m upgrade made possible from two Liverpool City Region Combined Authority investment funds.   Firesprite are reported to have signed a 11.5-year lease on the building.

In the 1980s Liverpool’s gaming industry was dominated by one company – Psygnosis –  but it’s now home to the likes of PlayStation and a number of burgeoning independent studios.

Cross said the arrival into Liverpool of companies like Swedish video games developer Avalanche Studios Group had ‘raised the bar’ for the industry.

Call to give Liverpool’s gaming sector more attention

“We’re doing a lot of work with the colleges and universities,” added Cross.  “We’ve got a brilliant studio school here that equips young people for careers in games and media. We have lots of the ecosystem already developing.”

Cross was speaking the at last week’s LCR Tech Climbers event, where the great and the good of the region’s digital tech sector were recognised.

A total of 25 companies were selected for this year’s LCR Tech Climbers list, including creative production house Skyhook Games. A further 10 companies made the ‘Ones to Watch’ list.

Cross said: “LCR Tech Climbers is really important because we need positive stories coming from the region and we need to give a  platform for these tech companies to shout about themselves.”

Last year one of the biggest names in Liverpool’s gaming sector called for it to get more of the attention given to the sport, film and music industries.

Clemens Wangerin is the CEO of VTime and was speaking at an exclusive gaming event in the city called Game On!, which was hosted at the offices of Sony Interactive Entertainment on Old Hall Street.