New Scotland-specific trade body proposed

New Scotland-specific trade body proposed

By Rob Crossley

February 7th 2011 at 2:43PM

Committee report calls for better 'regional representation'

In the wake of rumours that Britain’s two major games trade bodies could merge as a unified unit, a new report has recommended another separate group be introduced.

The Scottish Affairs Committee has outlined in its latest report that a games industry trade body – one solely representing Scottish developers – should be established.

That recommendation came part of twenty key points it has made to the UK government – all of which can be read here.

“Although there are personal networks within in the video games industry, more formal representation at regional level could provide stronger support for companies,” the report said.

“We see an argument for a trade body representing companies in Scotland, with the UK Government, trade associations and games companies all involved in its creation.”

The UK has two main game associations - Tiga, which represents developers, and UKIE, which speaks for publishers.

Yet as the industry progresses into a new digital world, distinctions between the two bodies have weakened.

Develop understands that these two groups are now looking to explore common ground.

The proposal comes after a testing twelve months for the sector – epitomised by the collapse of Realtime Worlds, a studio which made over 200 developers redundant due to the commercial failure of its MMO All Points Bulletin.

The report’s statistics suggest that development headcount in Scotland fell by 18 per cent last year, compared to a 4.4 per cent shrink

In November last year Develop revealed the findings of an independent study which found that the UK sector had contracted by nine per cent since 2008. The reduction represented around 900 job losses, bringing the total UK dev headcount to about 9,000.

The Scottish Affairs Committee claimed the UK, at large, lost 4.4 per cent of its workforce last year overall.

"Formal representation at regional level could provide stronger support for companies," the Committee explained.

It said that games companies “face significant challenges in accessing finance,” and that “more needs to be done to increase the understanding of the financial cycle for video games companies amongst banks and private equity funders.”