10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ian Livingstone

Many of you may know Ian Livingstone as a prominent figure in the gaming industry, his achievements extending from being the co-founder of Games Workshop to becoming one of the top players in developing the UK video game industry. However, there is more to Livingstone than what is typically seen or known. Here, we delve into ten lesser-known facts about the man who has played a crucial role in making gaming an integral part of modern pop culture.

1. He Co-Founded Games Workshop with a Loan of £1,000

When Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson decided to start their table-top gaming company, Games Workshop, they particularly didn’t have the capital often associated with budding entrepreneurs. Their launch fund? A modest £1,000, which they borrowed from a family member. It’s a perfect example of how passion and unconventional thinking can overcome financial constraints.

From there, their company has grown tremendously, transforming into a game empire that is now internationally renowned. Their board and role-playing games, such as Warhammer, have since garnered a massive cult following.

2. He Co-Created the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ Gamebook Series

In addition to co-founding Games Workshop, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson also devised the ‘Fighting Fantasy’ gamebook series. This unique genre melds together traditional book narratives with the interactive components of role-playing games, allowing readers to participate in the story, making choices that influence the book’s outcome.

Their groundbreaking concept started with “The Warlock of Firetop Mountain,” which they wrote and published in 1982. The ‘Fighting Fantasy’ series has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and is translated into 32 languages.

3. Livingstone Left School at 16

Despite his achievements, Livingstone didn’t follow a traditional academic path. He left Manchester Grammar School at 16 with only one ‘O’-Level. While it could have hampered his progression, Livingstone used this as motivation to succeed in the world of business and gaming.

From a young age, he was always motivated by games, puzzles, and challenges. His unconventional path shows that non-traditional educational pathways can also lead to success.

4. He Received the CBE Award from Queen Elizabeth II

In 2013, Ian Livingstone was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. He was recognized for his significant contributions to the computer games industry in the UK.

The CBE award is a high-ranking British order of chivalry, rewarded for contributions to arts and sciences and public service outside civil services. This award stands testimony to Livingstone’s dedicated efforts in transforming the UK’s gaming landscape.

5. He Chaired the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)

From 2011 until 2017, Ian Livingstone chaired NESTA – an organization dedicated to fostering creativity and innovation in the UK. During his tenure, he worked to empower the next generation of creators and innovators.

His work at NESTA underlines his commitment to the industry. He remains focused on nurturing fresh talent and ensuring they have the resources to succeed in the burgeoning digital age.

6. He Created the Eidos Interactive Company

In the mid-90s, when the gaming industry was on the cusp of significant digital advances, Ian Livingstone co-founded Eidos Interactive, a video game publisher that went on to create iconic franchises such as Tomb Raider and Hitman.

Livingstone played a massive role in bringing these franchises to life, underscoring his ability to not only adapt to, but also advance, the evolving gaming industry.

7. He Advocated for the UK Digital Curriculum

Livingstone has profoundly shaped the way children in the UK learn about technology. He passionately advocated for the inclusion of computer science in the UK national curriculum. His tireless efforts led to the subject’s inclusion in 2014, thereby equipping students with the digital skills needed for the 21st-century world.

His mission? To arm the younger generation with the knowledge and know-how to thrive in an increasingly digital world and, perhaps, create the next gaming phenomenon.

8. He’s a Proponent of Tax Breaks for the Gaming Industry

Livingstone has worked to elevate the gaming industry’s position within the UK economy. He advocated for tax breaks for the gaming industry, arguing that they are crucial to prevent the ‘brain drain’ of talent from the UK to countries providing more financial incentives.

His advocacy shines a light on the importance of the gaming industry in the UK’s economy and emphasizes the need to support and cultivate this thriving sector.

9. He Authored the ’Livingstone-Hope Skills Review’

In 2011, Livingstone co-authored the ‘Livingstone-Hope Skills Review.’ This comprehensive report outlined the importance of video game design, visual effects, and the next generation’s skills for the UK economy.

This report was instrumental in proving the economic value of the gaming industry, leading to computer science becoming a part of the UK’s National Curriculum.

10. He’s Produced Award-Winning Video Games

A career that spans several decades sees Livingstone wearing multiple hats. Beyond being an entrepreneur, author, and advocate, he’s also a successful video game producer. He has worked on multiple award-winning video games, the most notable being the ‘Tomb Raider’ series.

The success of these games further demonstrates his knack for knowing what gamers enjoy and his ability to deliver it in the most compelling and engaging way.

To conclude, Ian Livingstone has contributed significantly to the gaming industry. His impressive career journey, marked by dedication and innovative thinking, continues to inspire the next generation of creators and game enthusiasts. Learn more about Livingstone and his contributions with the following resources:

Official website|
Gaming Industry Interview|
Wired Interview|
Gamasutra Article on UK’s First Games & Digital School|
Livingstone-Hope Skills Review Report