TIGA is "voice for UK-owned content creators"
CEO Richard Wilson hits back on differences between association and newly-expanded UKIE
Following the recent expansion of UKIE (formerly ELSPA), and it's new remit to represent the whole industry rather than just publishers, TIGA has moved to clear up some of the question marks hanging over its own future as a result.
With speculation surrounding the trade association, and whether or not there is room enough for more than one claiming to represent certain sectors - including development and academia - CEO Richard Wilson has told GamesIndustry.biz that's not the important point.
"It's not unusual for there to be more than one trade association in a particular economic sector," he said. "There are about 38 different institutions in the engineering sector, 12 associations in the ceramics sector and two in the funeral and bereavement sector.
"The number of associations is not the issue. What matters is whether a trade association is delivering value for its membership, the sector and the wider UK economy."
He went on to underline the differences as he saw them between TIGA and UKIE, focusing on four key areas.
"Firstly, TIGA's membership consists overwhelmingly of UK owned businesses and organisations," he said. "Conversely, over 80 per cent of UKIE's membership are foreign-owned and -controlled businesses.
"Secondly, TIGA's constituency is based on the creative content creators of the industry, UKIE's constituency are publishers. I am pleased to say that TIGA now represents over 160 organisations across the UK, including established independent developers, publisher owned studios, small indie-studios, start-ups and creative agencies.
"We also represent games publishers, art, audio and motion capture specialists as well as law firms, accountancy firms and other service providers. We additionally have 25 education providers as members, from colleges and universities to distance learning providers and training specialists. TIGA truly represents the whole spectrum of talented companies and organisations that make up the UK games industry.
"Thirdly, TIGA exists to serve the interests of the UK games industry. At TIGA we focus on helping our UK members successfully compete: hence our campaigns for a tax break for games development and improvements in education and skills; and our provision of services such as trade support, self-publishing advice, and our networking and creative industry switch programme. Conversely, UKIE is naturally more interested in issues such as age ratings and piracy matters as befits a publisher trade association.
"Fourthly, TIGA is a highly effective organisation. We are the only trade association in the UK to have consistently and wholeheartedly led the campaign for Games Tax Relief and to have changed Labour and SNP policy in the process.
"We are the trade association that has taken education and skills seriously," he added.
Traditionally TIGA was seen as the developer body, and ELSPA as the publishers' representative - but as the number of key independent developers has dwindled and more small businesses take on some publishing functions themselves, the line has become blurred.
Both organisations have had some political victories this calendar year - ELSPA triumphed with PEGI over the BBFC and TIGA managed to put tax relief on the agenda in the Labour government's final Budget - even though that was later overturned when the Coalition government came to power.
The full interview with Richard Wilson, in which he outlines the future of the TIGA as he sees it, will be published soon on GamesIndustry.biz