Sony: Industry report 'to reveal massive skills gap'

Sony: Industry report 'to reveal massive skills gap'

By Rob Crossley in London

January 11th 2011 at 3:32PM

Ray Maguire says Livingstone-Hope review will show problems begin at early education

A UK games industry report set for release in February will warn the government of a damaging skills shortage, a key Sony exec has said.

“The Hope-Livingstone Review that comes out in February will show there is a massive skills gap in the UK today,” said Sony Computer Entertainment UK managing director Ray Maguire.

In an interview with Develop, Maguire said the real cause of a skills gap in UK game development “goes back to the earlier years of education”.

He said: “Fundamentally, we are looking at universities to create the talent, but the real issue is that we need people to better understand digital entertainment from a much younger age”.

The Hope-Livingstone Review is being carried out by NESTA with support from Skillset, and will make recommendations to Government on how the UK can become the best source of talent in the world for the video games.

The government has asked Eidos life president Ian Livingstone and Double Negative managing director Alex Hope to work on the report.

Speaking to Develop after a speech made at a London event, Maguire was nonetheless hopeful that the UK “will become a substantial games market, but it needs infrastructure first. Where there is innovation, where there’s passion – those people should be given an advantage.”

Maguire also urged the government to act quickly or risk losing ground permanently.

“This issue is, because results coming out of universities are fundamentally not changing, it means that technology will progress and pull further away from academia’s grasp of it. So the government needs to get its act together now, because if it waits a few more years, the tech will be too advanced for the UK to make positive progress.”

Maguire spoke of other industry issues today during his address at the Learning Without Frontiers event in London, a three-day conference for discussion and debate on digital media, education, technology and entertainment.

It was here that he said the UK games industry is still fighting for games tax breaks.