'Government is listening,' says new CEO as he reveals plan to further lobbying and skills strategy in his first interviewSpeaking exclusively to Develop for his first interview since taking up the post of CEO a month ago, new Tiga head Richard Wilson has outlined his vision for the trade organisation – with continued Government lobbying and a focus on improving industry skills a priority.
Wilson took charge of Tiga from predecessor Fred Hasson at the start of March, and has since then kept busy, consulting with association members and Government representatives on the needs of the games industry and issuing public statements about unfair competition to drive awareness of the pressures on the UK’s developers.
In part one of a wide-ranging interview, Wilson told us: “My vision statement for Tiga is two-fold. Firstly, to lobby UK, European Union and regional governments to create an environment in which developers in this country can prosper. And secondly to establish best practices so developers can rely on themselves to enhance their competitiveness. There are a lot of trade associations in the UK and they very in quality – I want Tiga to be one that adds real practical value for its membership.”
On the topic of tax breaks specifically – which have been a key point of umbrage for Tiga, its members, and the industry as a whole (see stories here, here and here, for instance) – he said that “Government is listening – but we want to make sure it keeps listening”.
“I think we should keep ministers’ feet to the fire, though – they are starting to acknowledge games more,” said Wilson. “In the second sentence of Gordon Brown’s introduction to the Creative Industries white paper he is praising the games industry. Let’s keep that up. If they’re recognising us, they shouldn’t get away with not supporting us properly.”
The new Tiga CEO will no doubt draw on his experiences in previous roles at the Royal Academy of Engineering and Institute of Directors to maintain pressure on authorities – but he added that Tiga “shouldn’t be a one trick-pony” and that the organisation “must look to other things which will help developers enhance their skills and enhance knowledge transfer”.
“Areas like that are a real priority for us,” he said, adding that under his stewardship Tiga will continue to closely examine the needs of the games industry on an educational and training level, and seek solutions to problems such as staff training and management skills.
He added: “Companies often go out of business or collapse not through any major fault of their own, but because their management isn’t as strong as it could be. Team work is obviously crucial to games development and that places a further emphasis on the quality of management so they can ensure people are pleased and keep turnover down.”
Part one of the interview, which looks at consulting with the government and issues around the media representation and content of games – key themes related to last weeks’ Byron Review – can be found here.
Part two, published tomorrow, will look at how Tiga and games developers can improve industry skills and education.