UK Games Industry Could Get Government Aid After All

UK Games Industry Could Get Government Aid After All

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Government officials are apparently meeting with representatives from the UK's various creative industries to discuss potential financial backing.

Things are looking up for the UK games industry, as it looks like it might be getting the tax relief it's been campaigning for over the last few years. Sources suggest that UK Chancellor George Osborne will announce a tax relief scheme worth £30 million either as part of the new budget on March 23rd, or sometime near then.

According to a "connected individual," Osborne has recently held talks with several important figures from the media and entertainment industries in the UK, an act that the source described as "not customary." Michael Rawlinson, director general of the UK trade organization UKIE - formally known as ELSPA - said that this was a sign that the UK government was planning to support the country's creative industries, of which the games industry was an important part. Rawlinson wasn't sure whether the government would introduce the scheme as part of the budget itself, but was confident that it would show its support for the sector.

The rumored total falls far short of the £100 million that TIGA, the other trade organization that represents the games industry in the UK, had proposed however. TIGA's appeal claimed that the investment would create 1,300 new jobs in development positions, as well as 2,500 "indirect" jobs. TIGA also warned that failing to invest in the sector would result in the loss of almost the same number of jobs. Given that the two outcomes are essentially polar opposites of each other, it's really not clear what a reduced level of investment would mean.

Source: Develop

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Good. Let's hope this goes through, I won't pretend to know anything about the economy and how it works but I'm sure the game industry in the UK will benefit from this.

Want to know why we're getting this? It's because the coalition has realised it is a good idea, but they'll modify it and say it was their idea instead of letting the old governments version go through.

*sigh*

Excuse my language, but Horrayfuckingaye! About time

I don't know much about economics, but I think this is great news for gaming.

Wait, what? There are countries without government funding for cultural industries? Norway has had this for a looong time already. The whole discussion went something like:
Guy 1: "Hey these, watchucallit? Videogames. They fall under the cultural category right?"
Guy 2: "Gee, I guess so."

We always have had government funding for Artists and Cultural developers. Hell, even Ibsen wouldn`t been able to write his awesome stuff without that support. Guess other countries are still less civilized than us :P

And WE are supposed to be the barbarians. HAH! GO VIKINGS!

honestly, there is so much talent in the UK and this would be a huge step forward.
I'm amazed that the BBC hasn't taken a bigger step into gaming, they tried a couple of shit doctor who games but thats it... thats what you get when you don't try.
the price of developing independant games has come right down and the bbc should take advantage of it, especially if they want to remain relevant and profitable in the years to come.

I think there's a huge hole where the british games industry should be and hopefully this aid will set it going properly.

googleback:
honestly, there is so much talent in the UK and this would be a huge step forward.
I'm amazed that the BBC hasn't taken a bigger step into gaming, they tried a couple of shit doctor who games but thats it... thats what you get when you don't try.
the price of developing independant games has come right down and the bbc should take advantage of it, especially if they want to remain relevant and profitable in the years to come.

I think there's a huge hole where the british games industry should be and hopefully this aid will set it going properly.

I definately agree. The UK could be much more bigger and influential to the industry as a whole, but for some reason we seem to be lacking a bit.
Most of the UK companies we do have, normally thrive and produce pretty high quality products.
With the new wave of Indie coming from XNA, the iphone and digital distributers on the PC, I'd argue now is the time to invest, and invest hard.
Get people into the game industry (via education and placement schemes for example), encourage new companies to start up, try to keep the ones we have here, maybe allow them to be a bit more ambitious.
(Maybe even try to encourage some cross-over between the gaming industry and other industries like music, film, and arts)

If there is one industry that really deserved a tax break, it is gaming.

I just hope this doesn't lead to compensating tax hikes elsewhere. Or, God forbid, another tuition increase O.O

It is probably gonna end up like Obama's save the cars then bankrupt them after a month from debt tax relief,but at least we are getting some support finally

Zapperdude:
Wait, what? There are countries without government funding for cultural industries? ...

Hang on, the term used is 'creative industries' - but yes, let's just stop and think about that term for a second in the context of current UK economic policy.

I imagine it's part of the coalition's drive for encouraging small businesses. Small businesses that will either be happily successful on their own or will attract enough attention to be approached by larger firms for mergers - the games industry (both in the UK already and on a larger scale in the US) is a perfect example of an industry that thrives on young enterprises (as opposed to industries such as the newspaper or board-game publishing industry that are, for the most part, the domain of big fish that have been around for some time) and so makes a perfect vechicle by which to demonstrate this new drive in policy.

One major obstacle to all this: despite recent prodding and victory-flag waving by the coalition over efforts such as Project Merlin the banks are still reluctant to the point of obtuse when it comes to lending to small businesses. Recent efforts have either been misdirected or policy ambiguous enough that no real positive change in the banks' approach to helping small businesses (I have to hand it to them, the banks have been wizards at maintaining their status quo in the wake of the financial crisis). So while this proposed tax relief may enourage people into the industry it will not solve the worries about generating small businesses in the first place.

As, Zapperdude (unintentionally?) points out - make no mistake, the gaming industry is receiving VERY preferential treatment here over its other 'creative' or 'cultural' cousins because of its suitable business model. I cannot comment on the specific health or future of the music or film industry in the UK but a 29.6% cut to the Arts Council England budget over the next four years (including completely removing all ACE subsidy from the 'Arts & Business' initiative over the next two years) does not bode well for those existing creative enterprises or encourage new ones to start up.

*Sigh* Giving with one hand, taking with the other...

Why the hell do we want a GOVERNMENT to pay for video-games?

New jobs in the game industry! Sounds good to me.

wow, they cut that much from public funding and then go wasting it on THIS?

I would usually be all for this, but the goverment really needs to support the CORRECT spending

Two problems with this.

As mentioned, money here means less money elsewhere. All sorts of important things are strapped for cash.

Secondly...this gives further ammunition for opponents of gaming, or at least certain games. Not only is MurderRapeVoteLabour 2:Electric Boogaloo not banned, it's almost getting government support, which is a much more legitimate complaint.

I'm still emigrating as soon as I get qualified, the UK has the worst pay and working conditions in the games industry to date and I doubt a £30m tax relief will alleviate that any more.

IndianaJonny:

Zapperdude:
Wait, what? There are countries without government funding for cultural industries? ...

Hang on, the term used is 'creative industries' - but yes, let's just stop and think about that term for a second in the context of current UK economic policy.

So the "Minister of Culture" who is the head of the Ministry of Culture, gives out money to "promote the cultural growth of the nation" does not put the videogame industry in the cultural part of the industries? Yeah, I understand that it is called a "creative industry" from a business view (in English), but from a political view, it can be defined as "cultural"(which it is in many languages). Next time, try not to shit on your leg and understand that different languages have different terms for the same thing.

IndianaJonny:

Zapperdude:
Wait, what? There are countries without government funding for cultural industries? ...

As, Zapperdude (unintentionally?) points out - make no mistake, the gaming industry is receiving VERY preferential treatment here over its other 'creative' or 'cultural' cousins because of its suitable business model. I cannot comment on the specific health or future of the music or film industry in the UK but a 29.6% cut to the Arts Council England budget over the next four years (including completely removing all ACE subsidy from the 'Arts & Business' initiative over the next two years) does not bode well for those existing creative enterprises or encourage new ones to start up.

*Sigh* Giving with one hand, taking with the other...

Actually I pointed out that this is something that most other, let's say developed countries, already has this support, not just for videogames. And to that "give with one hand and take with the other"...
WELL DUH! That's 90% of what politics is about. If they want to take all support for the movie industry and give it to the videogame industry, then that is totally in their right. You may not agree, sure, but you cannot say it is wrong "to give with one hand, taking with the other...". What you SHOULD say is "It is wrong to change the amount of blah blah blah, given to herpaderp and etc."

Zapperdude:
So the "Minister of Culture" who is the head of the Ministry of Culture, gives out money to "promote the cultural growth of the nation" does not put the videogame industry in the cultural part of the industries? Yeah, I understand that it is called a "creative industry" from a business view (in English), but from a political view, it can be defined as "cultural"(which it is in many languages).

As far as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is concerned, computer and video games along with the other creative industries of film and publishing come under 'media', not 'culture'. And this isn't simply an 'oh well that's just them' case - game companies and developers may have all these wonderful internal dialogues about their 'cultural' impact but that's not how they choose to present themselves to the UK economy or political environment. Advocacy bodies such as UKIE or TIGA that engage with DCMS and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, focus on making the gaming industry an attractive prospect for investors and politicians to get behind by focusing on the business model: 'interactive entertainment', 'games industry needs' and 'operational activities' are common terms, while sadly, the term 'cultural' is not in their business advertising or political advocating. Yes, you, I, industry journalists and game developers all know that games have an increasingly large 'cultural' impact but that's not what the industry says to encourage outside investment or political support - the closest we've got to saying "cultural" to the men in suits is using the pithy "educational" argument as a easier-to-swallow substitute.

Zapperdude:
Actually I pointed out that this is something that most other, let's say developed countries, already has this support, not just for videogames. And to that "give with one hand and take with the other"...
WELL DUH! That's 90% of what politics is about. If they want to take all support for the movie industry and give it to the videogame industry, then that is totally in their right. You may not agree, sure, but you cannot say it is wrong "to give with one hand, taking with the other...". What you SHOULD say is "It is wrong to change the amount of blah blah blah, given to herpaderp and etc."

Hmmm, perhaps I wasn't clear - my comment here was not to be interpreted along the same lines of thaluikhain's (i.e. that group/industry 'A' will benefit at the loss of group/industry 'B') but that the new encouraging policies regarding gaming (and in particular small gaming businesses) where undermined by other features that still held that same industry back. (i.e. here's something that will encourage group/industry 'A' growth while here's something else that will hold the growth of groups/industries (including 'A's) back so much so that it has, at best, a zero-sum effect for 'A'). Does that clarify things?

IndianaJonny:

Zapperdude:
So the "Minister of Culture" who is the head of the Ministry of Culture, gives out money to "promote the cultural growth of the nation" does not put the videogame industry in the cultural part of the industries? Yeah, I understand that it is called a "creative industry" from a business view (in English), but from a political view, it can be defined as "cultural"(which it is in many languages).

As far as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is concerned, computer and video games along with the other creative industries of film and publishing come under 'media', not 'culture'. And this isn't simply an 'oh well that's just them' case - game companies and developers may have all these wonderful internal dialogues about their 'cultural' impact but that's not how they choose to present themselves to the UK economy or political environment. Advocacy bodies such as UKIE or TIGA that engage with DCMS and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, focus on making the gaming industry an attractive prospect for investors and politicians to get behind by focusing on the business model: 'interactive entertainment', 'games industry needs' and 'operational activities' are common terms, while sadly, the term 'cultural' is not in their business advertising or political advocating. Yes, you, I, industry journalists and game developers all know that games have an increasingly large 'cultural' impact but that's not what the industry says to encourage outside investment or political support - the closest we've got to saying "cultural" to the men in suits is using the pithy "educational" argument as a easier-to-swallow substitute.

Seriously? You went to all that trouble finding sources when you completely failed to see what i was saying. IT IS CONSIDERED CULTURAL in Norway. Yes, surely they categorize it under creative industries in the UK but I was TALKING ABOUT NORWAY! Jesus, and I thought Americans where the ignorant ones. If it is still unclear for you, than read my original post in this thread. So i translated from Norwegian to English, and in Norway it is considered a part of culture. We do not even properly have the label "creative industry".

IndianaJonny:

Zapperdude:
Actually I pointed out that this is something that most other, let's say developed countries, already has this support, not just for videogames. And to that "give with one hand and take with the other"...
WELL DUH! That's 90% of what politics is about. If they want to take all support for the movie industry and give it to the videogame industry, then that is totally in their right. You may not agree, sure, but you cannot say it is wrong "to give with one hand, taking with the other...". What you SHOULD say is "It is wrong to change the amount of blah blah blah, given to herpaderp and etc."

Hmmm, perhaps I wasn't clear - my comment here was not to be interpreted along the same lines of thaluikhain's (i.e. that group/industry 'A' will benefit at the loss of group/industry 'B') but that the new encouraging policies regarding gaming (and in particular small gaming businesses) where undermined by other features that still held that same industry back. (i.e. here's something that will encourage group/industry 'A' growth while here's something else that will hold the growth of groups/industries (including 'A's) back so much so that it has, at best, a zero-sum effect for 'A'). Does that clarify things?

Sure it does. I understand that it does not improve the situation for developing companies, since the already established system already gives them problems. But without the government help that would go into negative, would it not?

Zapperdude:
[snip]

Take it easy, it's placing your original query of the approaches govenments take to funding the cultural industry in the context of the UK economy. "Norway does it? Well, that's good - and here's the situation in the UK...etc, etc". If an explanation of the economic situation in the UK seems out of place for you in the comments-thread on an article on the political and economic prospects of the UK gaming industry then there's little room for anything topic-orientated to be discussed, only inane "Yay!Good!Nice!" comments that aren't really that stimulating.

Haha, Ok, say if this was a news report about the possiblity of introducing white chocolate to the UK for the first time ever and you said "White Chocolate! We've had that for years!" - fine, but at least let us say why we haven't had white chocolate before or why we're considering introducting it now.
I'm not saying "Norway's approach is better/worse or "our approach is worse/better"; I'm not arguing with you here - I'm replying, I'm using your comments as a jumping point to explain the condition of the gaming industry in the UK because that's relevant to what the article/thread is about.

As for the government help issue, yes, government help would be great at all times and at all stages but if you had to choose (ok ok, major oversimplification ahead) between a measure that helped improve the competitive advantage of small UK gaming companies or a measure that improved the competitive advantage of ALL small UK companies, which would seem the most instinctive?

IndianaJonny:
snip

Apart from the fact that my original post was meant to convey the message of "Hey, other countries are already doing this. Maybe you should too?"
I just continued commenting since you were correcting things from my post that wasn't wrong.
Although we DID have a discussion about the fairness too, so guess some positive things came out of it.

 

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