The History of IGUK

In 2001, mutilplayer gaming was just starting to hit the internet. The original Counter Strike Mod and Unreal(the original) had been recently released and people were setting up LANs everywhere to have a little multiplayer action.

A handful of internet/gaming cafes sprung up to cater to this new market. At one of the first national tournaments, Unreal Tournament in Nottingham, 6 of these cafe owners met and decided to group together to help each other out and help new cafes trying to start in this industry, and the Virtual Gaming Alliance (VGA) was born.

Over the next couple of years the organization grew rapidly to over 50 centres. Games publishers had started to take notice of this new force and the VGA was able to secure free new games releases for it's members (the publishers gaining valuable exposure of their games at release). Microsoft was particularly friendly to the VGA giving all the centres XBox consoles (and later XBox 360's) as well as a steady stream of free games.

 

There was a major restructure of the organization in Oct 2003 where it changed from being a private company run by the 6 original members to a members organization run by a committee voted in by the membership. There was also a name change to Interactive Gaming UK (IGUK).

This was the hay day of IGUK. Publishers were not only giving centres free games for use in their centres but also sponsoring tournaments. IGUK had also used it's buying power to secure a partnership with Keconnect (formally Velocity Gaming) to give centres subsidized internet connections as well as high speed games servers.

National competitions were now being run 5 days a week. The IGUK website tracked the scores on all the leagues and thousands of gamers went to their local IGUK centres to participate. IGUK even had a paid team of Admins to manage these events.

It was during this period that the FRAG LOTTO was born, an innovative format for running regular tournaments that gave everyone a chance to win but still rewarded the better players. In a standard FPS Death Match the final scores were converted to virtual raffle tickets and then one ticket was drawn to find the winner of that day's prize. Score highly and you obviously have a higher chance of winning, but even the novices could join in, get one kill and they had a chance to win the prize.

IGUK also volunteered it's expertise to help run events at large annual exhibitions.

 

IGUK staff and volunteers ran the 2004 EOGC (European Online Gaming Championship) as part of Game Stars Live in London Earls Court. Where, in conjunction with Nova Logic, we hosted the 1st 100 person FPS match.
2005: Edinburgh Games Festival :
2006 E3 Los Angeles . IGUK managed to travel to E3 as part of a joint UK department of trade initiative. This helped IGUK solidify it's relationship with a number of the major games publishers.
2007 DefCom National Tournament :

During the period 2003 - 2008 IGUK gave out between £50,000 - £100,000 in prizes every year.

 

After 2008 the global economic down turn had two effects on IGUK. The Games Publishers had to reign in their marketing spending and so the sponsorship for the tournaments dried up, and secondly individual centres started to feel the economic pinch. Running a Games centre had always been more of a lifestyle choice for it's owners rather than a hugely profitable business venture. Over the next few years many of the centres were forced to close. IGUK's relevance diminished as there were very few new centres opening and very little publisher support for the centres that were open.

 

In 2013 The IGUK site was mothballed until such time as the industry recovers and it is needed again.

 IGUK is still active behind the scenes and hopes to make a come back one day soon when it needed by the industry..
In the coming weeks we will add a directory of OPEN gaming centres to this site.
If you have a gaming centre and wish to be included in the is directory please contact us with your centre information and some photographs and we will add you to the list.
In the future and when there are sufficient centres with interest you may be contacted with regards to the reintroduction of IGUK's services.

info@iguk.org