UKIE presses government to invest in the UK games industry

  • Games industry body UKIE has called on the government for additional funding to support the UK's world-class games industry.

    The UK Games industry has become one of the country's biggest exporters of digital entertainment goods, with games developed in the UK being sold worldwide and bringing in billions each year. UK consumers alone spent over £5bn on video games and game-related products in 2019, and that figure is expected to be much higher for 2020 as lockdown created a spike in game and console sales.

    The games industry may become another potential casualty of Brexit without new support, as a significant amount of the funding and support for smaller game development studios came from EU sources. The UK was a major net beneficiary of the annual Creative Europe grant, for example, which has supported several studios in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.

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    Games industry body UKIE has now written a proposal to the UK government calling for additional targeted support for the UK games industry. The proposal has been made ahead of next month's delivery of the government's budget on March 3rd, and makes specific suggestions for programmes:

    • "Boost already impressive industry growth by investing in new content and IP through a three year £24m UK Games Development Fund; "
    • "Capitalise on our position at the top table of games production by turbocharging our international trade potential with a £700k trade and investment programme; "
    • "Create a coordinated, national games business support programme that will accelerate the business capacity and knowledge of UK games companies, making them the best equipped in the world to grow and seek investment "
    • "Shore up the talent pipeline to enable new entrants into the sector through a £2.6m Games Trainee fund; and "
    • "Expanding the hugely successful Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) to increase tax receipts, create jobs, boost exports and level up the UK.  "

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    The main UK-wide support mechanisms for game development come primarily from Video Game Tax Relief (a similar scheme to R&D tax relief) and the UK Games Fund grant scheme, which delivers micro-grants to support studios. England delivers additional regional support through Creative England and other organisations, while Northern Ireland delivers its support though NI Screen, funded by Invest NI.

    Northern Ireland's game development industry is relatively new compared to other regions in the UK, but has grown rapidly in recent years with the creation of small independent studios and several high-profile deals. Most recently, global game development giant Riot Games finalised its buyout of Derry-based firm Hypixel Studios.

    Source: UKIE


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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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