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TIGA: "We're not a charity shop"

TIGA: "We're not a charity shop"

Tue 08 May 2012 9:32am GMT / 5:32am EDT / 2:32am PDT
Development

Wilson hits back at critics who suggest association isn't supporting dev community

TIGA

TIGA is the trade association representing the UKs games industry. The majority of our members are...

tiga.org

Trade association TIGA has hit back at criticism that it only looks after its own interests, stating that it's a business like any other and must turn a profit in order to continue to campaign for the good of the industry.

Last week Ste Pickford of the Pickford Bros questioned the motives the association, the price of its self-help guide and membership, as well as its relationships with government and educational business Train2Game.

"TIGA is a not-for-profit organisation but it is also a not-for-loss organisation," said Wilson in a note sent to GamesIndustry International. "Trade associations are not charity shops. TIGA is a small business and is run by UK developers and digital publishers for UK developers and digital publishers."

Wilson said that the quality of the final self help guide justifies the price to non-members, and the organisation is supporting the wider game development community by running events such as GameHack.

"We want our members to understand the importance of issues ranging from setting up and managing IP and age ratings to platforms, marketing and sales. Yet quality information and advice has to be found and collated and double-checked. That takes time and money. It is right that paying TIGA members who make a contribution to the future success of the industry receive valuable reports for free."

"TIGA organised the GameHack to give developers of all sizes a chance: the chance to think creatively and to develop an original game within the inspirational setting of Pinewood Studios; the chance to win some amazing prizes; and the chance to network with some of the best developers in the UK games industry. TIGA also helped to raise over 1,000 for charity in the process."

The full response from TIGA can be read below:

Trade associations fundamentally exist to support their members. TIGA was founded to give UK independent developers a chance in a competitive international industry: it lobbies the Government for financial and legislative support; it lobbies national media to promote members and industry achievements and it offers support to members to give them the best chance of growing their businesses.

None of this can be achieved for free. A car can't run without fuel, a tiger can't run without food, and an effective trade association can't run on thin air.

TIGA is a not-for-profit organisation but it is also a not-for-loss organisation. Trade associations are not charity shops. They do not operate on donations of old clothes and books and are not run by volunteers with some spare time on their hands.

While games firms, recently driven by the app culture, may offer products free of charge (but with the aim of generating advertising revenues to more than make up for a lack of a purchase price) trade associations such as TIGA work within limited means to promote and support members' interests and the interests of the games industry as a whole.

TIGA is itself a small business and is run by UK developers and digital publishers for UK developers and digital publishers. TIGA has a responsibility to deliver high quality services to its members and to avoid making a financial loss. Members support TIGA to campaign for business-changing policies, such as games industry tax breaks, or to strengthen links with education providers in order to share knowledge and enhance skills, or for providing a platform on which independent games companies can collaborate and share professional advice and information, safe in the knowledge that they are not going to get ripped off.

Like other excellent trade associations, TIGA's duty is to its members, the wider industry and to the wider UK economy. TIGA's members (and many non-members) recognise the work we put in to push for tax breaks for games developers in the last budget. It was the result of over four years of campaigning, which involved researching and developing a workable solution, regularly meeting MPs to garner support from within both Westminster and Holyrood and generating support from the media to keep the issue live and in the minds of economic advisers in particular. Make no mistake: the tax break victory is not simply good for TIGA members. It is good for the games industry generally because it will result in more investment; it is good for employees and students because it will create more job opportunities; and it is good for the economy at large because it will help to support the economic recovery.

But it doesn't stop with tax breaks. Enhancing skills in the games industry is a significant issue. We are working with colleges, universities and private training providers such as T2G to develop and promote relevant courses, disseminate best practice and to provide industry guest lecturers.

Nor does it stop with skills. Last weekend TIGA ran a GameHack with Blue-Via and 15 industry partners for members and non-members alike. TIGA organised the GameHack to give developers of all sizes a chance: the chance to think creatively and to develop an original game within the inspirational setting of Pinewood Studios; the chance to win some amazing prizes; and the chance to network with some of the best developers in the UK games industry. TIGA also helped to raise over 1,000 for charity in the process.

The provision of information and advice is crucial to business success. That is why TIGA developed the Guide to Self-Publishing. We want to give our members access to the best quality and advice from top lawyers, accountants and other games companies. We want our members to understand the importance of issues ranging from setting up and managing IP and age ratings to platforms, marketing and sales. Yet quality information and advice has to be found and collated and double-checked. That takes time and money. It is right that paying TIGA members who make a contribution to the future success of the industry receive valuable reports for free.

Ultimately the issue is whether or not a trade association can make a difference. Without the support of our members we would not have been able to campaign for tax breaks, which will now benefit the whole industry. Without the financial backing, we would not be able to provide quality information and advice or host quality industry events. Without the commitment of our members we would not be able to provide commercial opportunities for our members or to save members money from our network of 39 industry suppliers.

TIGA is a member-driven organisation. It has a mix of start-ups and more established independent UK games companies on its board. The games industry, which is still a relatively new industry, needs strong and tigerish support. Games firms do not have the time or individual resources to do this on their own, which is why they group together and form associations. If we want to see a flourishing developer and digital publisher sector, with rising numbers of start-ups and growing sustainable studios and declining business mortality rates, if we want to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business, then we need an effective trade association.

6 Comments

Seems like a little bit of a storm in a teacup. Having said though, TIGA could probably easily have released it for free if they'd gotten it sponsored or sold advertising in it.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
I have read the guide in question and it is utterly excellent and a bargain at the price. You would find it difficult to get so much tried and tested advice from those in the know by any other means. I have read most of the iOS related industry books and they are nowhere near as good.
Compared with many specialist reports it is very cheap. Compared with a consultant, who would probably know less, it is spectacularly cheap.

The problem with any industry is that we have areas where we compete and we also have areas that are problems in common. TIGA does an excellent job at bringing us all together to address these shared problems. Richard is utterly tireless at bringing us commercially valuable help that we couldn't otherwise access.

So Ste Pickford has the choice, he can be alone on the outside or he can pay a reasonable fee to be on the inside with a whole pile of other developers sharing the benefits of acting and discussing together. Certainly at Kwalee we have had excellent value from our TIGA membership.

Posted:2 years ago

#2
I don't think those outside of TIGA are going it alone. There's a very big, friendly and strong community of games developers in the UK and beyond helping each other out. One of TIGA's mistakes is thinking it speaks for and represents everyone when it clearly doesn't.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

robert troughton
Managing Director

219 92 0.4
Matt: I wholeheartedly agree. It really bothered me when the tax breaks were announced that TIGA seemed to be claiming full credit for that. From speaking to people involved with the break it's pretty clear that it wasn't TIGA's demands that got this through at all - in fact, I'd hazard a guess that some of TIGA's more outlandish demands of government helped to derail the tax break thing in the first place that time.

As I said in my recent interview for GI.biz, the industry really does need to stand together on this - I don't see that either TIGA or UKIE are helping in that when EVEN THEY can't stand together...

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Liam Farrell

66 13 0.2
Train2Game is a educational business?

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
#6

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