Business Department drops games industry duties

Business Department drops games industry duties

By Rob Crossley

January 18th 2011 at 5:09PM

UKIE concerned with sector's isolation within Culture Department

A shift in Whitehall has led to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills terminating its duty to directly deal with the games industry.

The news means that Treasury’s faint ties to the games industry are now even weaker. It will also bring clarity to departmental duties.

The Department For Culture Media and Sport will now solely monitor and manage games industry matters.

Trade group UKIE said it was “concerned” that the Business Department’s step away from the games industry will damage Treasury ties.

The group welcomed the Culture Department’s new responsibilities.

The danger is that isolating the games industry within the DCMS’ duties could send mixed messages about the entire goivernment’s approach to the games business across the UK.

Earlier this month the Coalition government was criticised for apparently tasking only one of its ministers to interact with the games industry in public.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who is a personal supporter of the game development and retail sectors, last year promised to introduce game development tax breaks in the UK.

The Treasury declined on his advice.

Vaizey was present at a recent education event in London that looked at how games can be used improve school learning.

To a round of applause, he was asked why no minister from the education department had showed up at the event.

UKIE said it “looks forward to working with DCMS to promote UKIE’s commercial and skills agendas as enthusiastically as they were pursued when the industry had direct representation at BIS”.

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Earlier today it was revealed that network group Game Republic will have its public funding dried up by March 31st - a knock-on effect of the Business Department's decision to abolish RDAs.

Game Republic is now seeking private funding.