In an effort to help the British video games industry grow even further, industry group TIGA has released their 2017 Election Manifesto, a five-year plan to help increase employment in development by 40% in five years. The group hopes to use the document as a blueprint in its work with the new Parliament that will be elected June 8.
By 2022, TIGA aims to increase employment in the industry from the current 12,600 to 17,500, support the foundation of 400 new studios, increase game development investment from £600 million to £840 million, and increase the video games industry contribution to the British economy from £1.3 billion to £1.8 billion. Many of the association’s proposals to meet this ambitious goals are based on existing measures, including enhancing the Video Games Tax Relief by 2.75%, increasing the amount of money a company can raise via the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme from £150,000 to £200,000, and maintaining support for the UK Games Talent and Finance CIC in order to provide financial support for prototypes and skills development.
However, also included within the report were two more ambitious ideas. The first is the creation of a Video Games Investment Fund that would provide pound for pound match funding up to a maximum of £200,000 for original IP game projects. The second is the establishment of a British Games Institute to drive the video games sector forward and to promote the cultural, creative and economic impact of video games in the United Kingdom. Both would involve significant time and resources to create and maintain, but could provide lasting return on investment for the British games industry.
For its own part, TIGA promises to accredit at least thirty UK video games degree courses via its University Accreditation System to ensure that more UK universities are providing games businesses with skilled graduates. In addition, the association will continue to provide authoritative data on the state of the industry and measure industry investment.
“As we negotiate a new course following Brexit in favor of a ‘global UK,’ it will be vitally important to support those industries where the UK already has a competitive advantage, which provide high skilled employment and which are export focused,” said Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA. “The UK video games sector is one such industry. The sector already has a critical mass of talent, with 12,600 skilled development staff employed in 1,000 companies, supported by a world class higher education system. If we can provide a competitive tax regime, improve access to finance, and deepen our talent pool while retaining the ability to recruit highly skilled overseas workers, then the UK video games industry has the potential to grow significantly.”