UKIE boss Michael Rawlinson explains how UK studios can help themselves
"The UK has a heritage in developing video games that we can be very proud of.
However, if we are to continue to produce world-class interactive entertainment, we need to ensure that the small and medium-sized businesses that make up so much of the UK’s games industry have the right commercial and cultural environment needed for them
Access to finance is key to this and UKIE has developed an agenda that will help small businesses to maximise their commercial potential.
This includes calling for tax breaks, looking at how existing systems and opportunities can be improved and breaking down barriers for investment through mechanisms like Venture Capital Trusts. We’re already speaking to Government about how we can apply this agenda and see it start to make a difference to the UK’s video games industry."
"But we can’t rely on the Government to solve all our issues. There is much that we can do as an industry to make the most of the opportunities that are already available.
For example, we’re working with legal firm Olswang on a DCMS-backed report looking at how games businesses can take full advantage of available tax credits such as the R&D system. It will then be up to organisations like UKIE to educate businesses about their potential benefits and then up to the firms themselves to make sure that they use them to maximum effect.
The UK’s games industry also needs to continue to produce the world-class workforce that creates games in the first place. That’s why UKIE is so supportive of the Livingstone-Hope skills review. We’re looking forward to bringing together the games industry, the education sector and Government to make the report’s recommendations a reality.
We also need to recognise this talent and make politicians sit up and take notice of the skills and successful businesses that are on their doorsteps.
We take every opportunity to make politicians aware of the video games businesses that they have in their constituency and the role that they play in contributing to the UK economy.
UKIE recently promoted further evidence of British talent leading the way. Analysis of our new motion-control software sales report highlighted the lead role that British talent has played in creating some of the most successful motion-control games for Kinect, Move and Wii – showing again the ability of British businesses to utilise the latest technology creatively and profitably.
UKIE is also pleased to see British video games and interactive entertainment talent recognised at next month’s BAFTA Video Games awards. UKIE will be taking the opportunity to sit politicians with senior publisher and developer figures and BAFTA nominees on its tables on the night.
As we all know, the UK video games industry is in transition but at its core will always be the individuals and small businesses who provide the creative fuel that powers the industry and that the UK has always excelled in. UKIE will be working to make sure that these people are recognised and have the right environment for their businesses to succeed.
With games being played by more people and gaming techniques being applied to ever wider disciplines from advertising to physical rehabilitation, the opportunity is there for the interactive entertainment industry to truly become Britain’s leading creative industry."
Michael Rawlinson is the director general of industry association UKIE, his views do not necessarily reflect those of Develop.