Independent UK developer and publisher body Tiga has called on the government to set up a Video Games Investment Fund.
Tiga: “Has called on the Chancellor to introduce a Video Games Investment Fund (VGIF) in the [29 October] 2018 Budget to enhance studios’ access to finance, promote the development of original IP and to encourage studio growth. The VGIF would make grants or loans of between £75,000 and £500,000 available to games businesses on a matched funding basis.”
Tiga CEO Dr Richard Wilson explained what the VGIF would bring to the UK games industry: “TIGA’s plan for a Video Games Investment Fund would improve developers’ access to finance, encourage the creation of new IP and strengthen the UK video games industry. The matched funding criteria would attract new investment from new investors into games and drive employment in the industry. The VGIF would also enhance productivity growth in the sector by catalysing investment in capital, skills and innovation.
“A similar scheme in Finland operated by the agency Tekes has provided financial support to over one fifth of the entire Finnish games industry’s studio population. The programme has more than paid for itself: for every euro invested by Tekes in the games industry, a return ranging from nine to 26 euros has been generated.”
Tiga’s call for action has been backed by various MPs. Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Britain’s video games industry is a world leader, and it’s vital that it stays that way. TIGA’s proposal for a Games Investment Fund is something Labour is seriously considering as a way to boost innovation, investment and jobs in the sector. We need to make sure we sustain success in one of our most important creative industries.”
Chris Law MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Video Games in the Westminster Parliament, said: “Establishing TIGA’s proposed Games Investment Fund would boost investment and employment and help to grow the video games industry in the all of the UK’s creative hotspots, including the Dundee and wider Scottish games development clusters.”
Tiga claims that the introduction of the VGIF would have many benefits, including: “Increase headcount by nearly 1,500 staff; create over 2,700 indirect jobs in the supply chain around games development; encourage games companies to invest an additional £215 million in development expenditure; contribute an additional £197 million in tax revenues over 5 years; help 175 studios (17 per cent of total); increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by an additional £480 million.”
Tiga’s proposal comes in the wake of near-universal concern among UK developers about the potentially damaging effect of the forthcoming Brexit, which prompted the formation of an industry anti-Brexit organisation entitled Games4EU. For further Tiga news, head to its website.