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TIGA rejects possible UKIE merger

UK trade associations to remain separate following failed unification talks

UK trade association TIGA has released a statement confirming that it has no plans to merge with fellow association UKIE, following talks in the past few weeks.

Calls for unification of the two bodies have been made in the past, most notably by Ed Vaizey MP, while at the launch of the Livingstone-Hope Review earlier this month a unified point of lobbying for government was suggested.

But while talks behind the scenes have been ongoing in the past month - instigated, GamesIndustry.biz understands by UKIE, the TIGA board has now released a statement clarifying its position.

"TIGA and its board would like to make it clear that we have no plans to merge with any other organisation," it read. "We do not see value in distracting ourselves with talks towards such an end while the games industry faces pressing matters including Games Tax Relief, R&D tax credits, improving access to finance, migration policy, education and skills and IP."

The statement went on to explain that TIGA would welcome UKIE as a member if it shared its "aims and supported our mission," but at the same time noted that "some other trade associations have been ambivalent at best" about Games Tax Relief - a thinly-veiled swipe aimed at its rival regarding its initial position to the DCMS on the subject in late 2009.

"While we do not consider it a priority that the UK games industry be represented by a single trade organisation, we appreciate the appetite some parties may have in this regard," the statement continued. "As far as we are concerned TIGA is that body, since it has transformed the industry's political profile and consistently provided exemplary leadership on the key issues facing the games industry in recent years.

"TIGA has increased the political influence of our sector not least by instigating the creation of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Computer and Video Games Industry. TIGA has decisively improved the profile of our industry in the mainstream media, generating positive stories about our sector on national television, radio and in the press."

The announcement is unlikely to come as a surprise to many, given the divisions that have separated the two organisations in the past, but it had been hoped in some quarters that with the changing nature of the business - with an increasing amount of developers taking on publishing responsibilities themselves - that now would be a good time for change.

The divisions between the two go back many years, when ELSPA (which became UKIE last year) represented only publishers; TIGA was formed in 2001 in order to create a support structure for the development companies that until that point didn't have representation.

But with ELSPA's transition to UKIE - along with an expanded remit to represent the whole videogames sector rather than just publishers - a blurring of the lines occurred.

Both organisations have had political successes in the past year, with TIGA succeeding in persuading the former Labour government to add games tax breaks to the Budget Statement, while ELSPA/UKIE saw its own PEGI ratings system adopted in the Digital Economy Act.

The full statement from the TIGA board is as follows:

"TIGA and its board would like to make it clear that we have no plans to merge with any other organisation. We do not see value in distracting ourselves with talks towards such an end while the games industry faces pressing matters including Games Tax Relief, R&D tax credits, improving access to finance, migration policy, education and skills and IP.

"TIGA is united around a common agenda that includes Games Tax Relief, a policy that would benefit a whole range of different games businesses. Some other trade associations have been ambivalent at best about this measure. It makes no sense to sacrifice TIGA's coherence for a merger which would undermine our effectiveness.

"TIGA is an organisation with a mission: to fight for the interests of UK game developers and of the wider games industry and to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We would warmly welcome as a member of TIGA any individual or organisation that actively shares our aims and supports our mission. We welcome all games businesses including developers, self-publishing developers, publishers, platform holders, outsourcers and education providers who support TIGA's principles and who want to belong to an ambitious, dynamic and effective trade association.

"While we do not consider it a priority that the UK games industry be represented by a single trade organisation, we appreciate the appetite some parties may have in this regard. As far as we are concerned TIGA is that body, since it has transformed the industry's political profile and consistently provided exemplary leadership on the key issues facing the games industry in recent years.

"TIGA has increased the political influence of our sector not least by instigating the creation of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Computer and Video Games Industry. TIGA has decisively improved the profile of our industry in the mainstream media, generating positive stories about our sector on national television, radio and in the press."

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Latest comments (12)

Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
"Turkeys reject Christmas in referendum"

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As mentioned before, there may be some slight crossover between UKIE and TIGA, but culturally, poltically, and in all way and form, they are like chalk and cheese and betwixt the two, never shall mix. It was obvious from the start
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Mike Reddy Programme Leader BSc, University of Wales, Newport5 years ago
I, for one, am glad that this isn't happening. UKIE and TIGA are like the NMC and the GMC, serving different but complementary roles, although not necessarily in that order. One represents the doers and one the planners, one the workers and one the "bosses", one the high and one the low in status. However, it's not my place to say who is who.
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Show all comments (12)
Michael Bennett Jack of all trades, master of some. 5 years ago
Presenting a unified front would be of huge benefit to the UK industry. As long as we remain fragmented tax breaks will remain that much further out of reach.
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It's not just about tax breaks. There are so many different things going on at the moment that we need to have one, cohesive, voice on or else we won't get heard at all, particularly in cross creative industry issues, such as the DEB, copyright reform.

I find it pathetic that the two just can't sit round a table, work out who is best at what, and push on together - there's little dividing line between devs and publishers anymore, as most independent devs are publishers themselves anyway nowadays. UKIE has over 30 developers as members by default, due to their parent companies being members.

I'm not directly a member of either, but I am involved in discussions with government and opposition regularly. On countless occasions, I've been told that one voice is the way forward. At a pivotal time for the industry with laws passed and others to be passed that will affect the whole industry forever (or until those laws are changed again), being fragmented and seemingly going to war is stupid, and serves none of the members of either organisation.
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart5 years ago
Why would people vote in a merger that votes them out of a job. The real reason why over 50% of M&A never happen when the board do not hold much equity.
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Would the Tories sleep with Labour?

There is nothing stopping multiple trade associations speaking with a unified voice without the need for hybridization
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Ian Livingstone , Eidos5 years ago
A single turkey might not vote for Christmas but all of them voting for it would as nothing keeps the population of turkeys higher more than Christmas.
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@ Ian - Hi, I think this turkey shoot analogy got slightly lost in translation.
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robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard5 years ago
I honestly wish that people would stop talking about "tax breaks" and actually listen to what the government is telling them... the government has said several times that they would like to help the industry - but that the tax breaks were misguided.

The industry needs "aid", not tax breaks... that can come from grants, lowered rates, tax breaks or any number of other support devices.

I'm 100% sure that help will come - but I don't believe the government is stupid enough to offer tax breaks to large, foreign owned studios... they'll be looking for UK-owned IP, future growth and so on...
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Martin Iparry games marketing 5 years ago
A single voice would be great. A single voice will come about from the most *relevant * association due to a large amount of support translating into good sub income. Will a single issue be enough to prove relevance? What happens when the single issue doesn't deliver? Is tax breaks enough to be the rallying cry?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D5 years ago
@ Ian. I had to read that four times before I finally got it:)
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