Rail Simulator was originally developed by the well-known video game developer Kuju Entertainment Limited in partnership with the major video game publisher Electronic Arts Ltd. The Company immediately began improving the product to make it easier to use by a wider range of consumers.
From its formation, the Company recognised that the video game market was increasingly moving to an on-line distribution and delivery model, and so released its first product, RailWorks, on the Steam digital platform in June 2009.
A fast-growing company, it employs more than 60 staff at its Chatham head office, and has satellite offices in Godalming in Surrey, and Stirling in Scotland. Originally based in the Joiners Shop at Chatham Historic Dockyard, the Kent team grew to the point where it was using five offices around the building.
“Early in 2013 it became clear that we needed a new base,” said Gemma Johnson-Brown, Vice President of HR.
“We had 40 employees and firm plans to add nine more in a short period of time, and even more over a longer period. Having the team spread across five offices really didn’t help our need for collaborative working and so we started looking for somewhere we could grow into. We set a search perimeter at 25 miles, taking in Essex and London.
“There was a real desire to stay in the local area as our CEO, Paul Jackson, is from Rainham and was keen to support local talent and suppliers. Many of our employees use public transport to get to work, so we were looking for good links, along with good internet connection as we rely heavily on that for our work.”
Locate in Kent, the county’s investment promotion agency, had originally helped the company find its Joiners Shop base and offered its help. Locate in Kent then worked with the company to identify suitable premises elsewhere in Medway and at other locations around Kent, and set up and accompanied representatives on site visits and to meetings.
Locate in Kent also put Dovetail in contact with a list of contractors who drew up various office layouts and costs for suitable properties in those locations.
Eventually the solution was found on their doorstep, at the Observatory, Chatham, just 500 yards from their original home. It is flexible space that can be adapted as the company grows, has plenty of parking and means minimal disruption for the company’s staff.