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Ian Livingstone OBE receives honorary degree from BU

11 November 2011

Ian Livingstone OBE

One of the founding fathers of the UK games industry received the award from BU in recognition of his career in the UK’s creative industry.

Ian Livingstone, Life President of Eidos Interactive and father of Lara Croft, was given an honorary degree from Bournemouth University on 9 November. He was being honoured as a pioneer of interactive entertainment and as a world-renowned authority on computer and video games.

He said of the award: “I am honoured and delighted to receive my honorary degree from BU today, and am very proud and humbled to be recognised in this way. It is brilliant news for me and brilliant news for the industry - we don’t often celebrate the achievements of the games industry.”

He founded iconic games company Games Workshop in 1975 with John Peake and Steve Jackson. The company rose from the humble origins from a flat in Shepherd’s Bush – in BU’s citation they were described as “the bedsit gamers” – when they started to distribute Dungeons & Dragons. This lead to the creation of White Dwarf, the UK’s first interactive games magazine, which did much to popularise role playing games.

In 1982 he and Steve Jackson created Fighting Fantasy, the interactive games book, which has sold over 16 million copies and been translated into 25 languages.

He made the leap to computer games in 1984, designing Eureka, the first title release by publisher Domark in 1984.

He returned to the company in the early 1990s overseeing the merger that created Eidos Interactive. At Eidos he helped bring to market some of its most famous properties, including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Hitman.

He told graduates from the Bournemouth University School of Design, Engineering and Computing, that they were graduating at a very exciting time: “Even though the world is in slight disarray, with the manufacturing industry flat and the financial services in disarray, there has never been a better opportunity than today for those equipped with the skills for the digital and creative industries to succeed.

He continued, “The world is crying out for content creators. You can now reach global audiences through high speed broadband. You can be part of the games industry, you can be part of the arts and animation industry, you can be part of the visual arts industries.”

“The rise of the creative and digital industries is going to be driving the UK economy forwards, it now represents 9 per cent of GDP and is looking to rise. The government is recognising the value that as content creators in the digital age of what we can do and what we can be part of. The UK is the most creative nation in the world and you have to believe in yourselves and go out there and do it.”

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