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Games are for everyone: A thank you to Jo


After 10 years at the helm of Ukie, Dr Jo Twist OBE’s last day as a member of the team is tomorrow, Friday 23rd June. We’d like to take a moment to reflect on the driving principle that has characterised Jo’s work over the decade and that will be her legacy moving forwards: the simple idea that video games are for everyone.

As the consumer value of games in the UK hits the £7 billion mark, this might seem obvious. But Jo has always been years ahead of the curve. One of the first people to denounce the word “gamer” as a limiting and stereotypical label, Jo has advocated extensively for all kinds of interactive entertainment and all kinds of players.

Jo entered the games industry at a time when digital storefronts, app stores, and the limitless potential of online games were changing the focus of studios and reaching a generation of new players. As the gap between developers and publishers began to close, Ukie needed a new way of thinking about the games industry. Jo gave the industry a strong, impassioned voice;  she brought an approach and image that reflected who we wanted to be as much as who we were becoming. Working closely with games studios, revamping Ukie’s presence at gamescom and advocating for government support for businesses at all levels, Jo helped move the organisation from publisher-focused to encapsulating the entire interactive entertainment industry.

Jo’s focus on robust data has been crucial to Ukie’s status as the voice of the UK games industry; since 2012 the consumer market valuation has illustrated the appetite for games in the country whilst the UK Games Map, launched in 2016 and refreshed in 2023, recorded the industry’s rapid growth and unique distribution. In 2020, the first ever games industry census and its 2022 follow-up provided a benchmark for the industry’s Equality, Inclusivity and Diversity work, which alongside the accompanying industry pledge #Raisethegame proved a pivotal moment to ensure the people who make games reflect the increasing diversity of those who play them. 

Of course, not all games are for every player. As online games and digital storefronts became a more significant part of young people’s lives, Jo’s has acted extensively as a spokesperson to government, submitting evidence to inform policymaking decisions around children’s access to in-game spend and age appropriate content. In 2019, her decision to revitalize the Ask About Games website, looping in the practices of family games expert Andy Robertson was a vital flashpoint in launching the first Responsible Play campaign. 

The industry Jo inherited in 2012 is almost unrecognizable from the one she will leave behind; and no doubt due to her contributions. Jo has played a pivotal role in recognising our past, caretaking for our present but most critically unifying us for our future. It is impossible to overstate the impact Jo has had on the industry - she will leave not just a tremendous professional legacy but an incredibly positive and personal impact on so many of us individually. Thank you, Jo.

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