Games industry luminaries call for a British Games Institute

January 24, 2017 | 10:50

Tags: #grants #jo-twist #richard-wilson #ukie

Companies: #british-games-institute #government #ian-livingstone #tiga

Games industry giants including Ian Livingstone, UKIE (formerly known as UK Interactive Entertainment), and The Independent Games Developers Association (TIGA) have come together to request that the government forms a British Games Institute.

The list of names behind the call for a British Games Institute is short but heavy: Ian Livingstone, co-founder of the Fighting Fantasy and Games Workshop franchises prior to his involvement in the games industry with Domark, Eidos, SCi, and his position now as Life President of Eidos under owner Square Enix; Rick Gibson, co-founder of Games Investor Consulting; Richard Wilson, chief executive of The Indepedent Games Developers Association (TIGA); and Jo Twist, chief executive of fellow lobby group UKIE are all named as founding members.

The list of those supporting the call is longer still, including companies ranging from Sports Interactive and 505 Games to Jagex, Frontier, Creative Assembly, Unity and Take Two. All are in agreement with the founders' vision to set up the British Games Institute in the mould of the British Film Institute as a non-membership charity which would take charge of grants and loans to push forward 40 'cultural British games' every year in the same manner as the BFI funds cultural British films.

'The UK video games industry is a high technology, high skilled sector with a high propensity to export. If we are to ensure that our sector achieves its potential and continues to create highly skilled jobs and wealth for the UK, then we need action on three fronts,' claimed TIGA's Wilson. 'Firstly, we need to retain and potentially enhance Video Games Tax Relief, a measure which is enabling the UK to compete on a more level playing field against our global competitors and which is driving growth in the industry by over 7 percent per annum. Secondly, we should strive to ensure that the UK has one of the best educated workforces in the world and an effective and efficient migration system that enables UK employers to access highly skilled personnel from all over the world, including from the EU.

'Thirdly, we should introduce a British Games Institute to drive the sector forward. The British Games Institute would manage TIGA’s long standing proposal for a Games Investment Fund, increase productivity in the industry by working with leading universities – particularly TIGA Accredited universities - to promote best practice, and promote British games culture with a new national games week filled with events, hackathons and competitions around the UK.'

TIGA's projections for a Games Investment Fund governed by the British Games Institute predict a direct increase in industry jobs within the UK by 600 and in indirect jobs, such as supply chain workers, by 1,000, increased development expenditure into the economy of £81 million, increased tax revenue of £74 million, assist 125 studios - 18 percent of UK studios - and increase the UK's gross domestic product by £178 million, all over the next five years. The funding for the grants and loans, TIGA proposes, could come from government coffers as Grant-in-Aid or through the National Lottery.

The government has not yet responded to the group's proposals, but is said to be in discussions on the subject. Interested parties can follow along on the official website.
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