British Games Institute targets government approval with online petition

Time for a "single national public agency to champion games", says institute

By Haydn Taylor.Published Monday 23rd October 2017, 1:13pm GMT

In a bid to gain official recognition, the British Games Institute is now petitioning the UK government.

The online petition calls for a "single national public agency to champion games". This new agency would address challenges such as funding production, supporting festivals, and sourcing skills.

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The BGI, founded in January this year, is modelled around the British Film Institute and would be the first organisation of its kind if successful in securing government funding.

As part of the campaign, the BGI is also calling on high-profile industry members to publicly show their support via social media in order to raise awareness.

Founded by former Eidos board member Ian Livingstone, and investment consultant Rick Gibson, the BGI is backed by over 500 games, arts, finance, and educational organisations, as well as both UKIE and TIGA.

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Drawing from Britain's rich game development history, the BGI argues that the UK is a creative hub for the industry but lacks adequate support from the government, being one of the least well-funded creative industries in the country.

"We have made world-class games for nearly 40 years," said the BGI. "But the studios that make our games face massive challenges in raising the money needed to develop games, fighting low public and media recognition of games' impact on our culture and economy, and real difficulties accessing the skills to keep our games world-class."

Speaking to The Times, former culture minister Ed Vaizey MP, said: "The UK games industry ticks all the [government] industrial strategy's boxes: it's high growth, high-tech, truly nationwide and is already world-class with highly transferable skills. Yet the games industry faces significant challenges in access to finance, cultural recognition and skills shortages. Funding the BGI would be a statement of strategic intent by the government."

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